Future Stars: These Sophomore Sensations Are On The Rise

* Charlie Trinity-McKenzie is one of the top upcoming mid-distance stars

Photo Credit: MileSplit

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Over the past couple of weeks, the indoor season has been ramping up with excitement as more and more stars have come out of the woodwork to make their season debut.

While a lot of well-known athletes have been performing exactly how we expected them to, a few underclassmen have exceeded many expectations and have successfully inserted themselves into the national conversation. 

Here are four of the nation's top sophomores who have had tremendous indoor seasons thus far and deserve some recognition.

Victor Olesen

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St. Christopher's (VA)

Class of 2026

As a freshman, Olesen rode a seven-meet win streak in the pole vault, nabbing a 16-1 PR clearance along the way. 

At adidas Outdoor Nationals, Olesen finished seventh and was the top underclassmen in the field.

So far this season, Olesen is 4-1 and has already cleared 16-0 twice, matching his freshman year total. He also had the opportunity to compete in one of the most coveted pole vault meets in the country, the National Pole Vault Summit, where he finished 13th.

Compared to the nation's sophomores, Olesen is the only one to clear 16-0 and has a five-inch lead over No. 2. He sits in a tie for ninth on the U.S. leaderboard, being one of just 12 athletes in the country to clear 16-0 this season.

Charlize Trinity-McKenzie

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Cedarburg (WI)

Class of 2026

Since she kicked off her indoor campaign way back in the first weekend of December, Trinity-McKenzie has totaled seven races across six different events.

Along the way, she's also picked up four new PRs in the 1,600m, 1,500m, 1,000m, and 600m.

She's displayed pretty extraordinary range for a sophomore, proving her worth from 400m to 3,000m.

Last weekend she traveled to Chicago for the CYUP Misfits Invite, leaving with a 600m/1,000m sweep and a sophomore class leads in both and even a U.S. No. 1 in the 600m.

Trinity-McKenzie won in 1:31.65 and 2:54.16, which were both national class leads for sophomores.

Jaden Merrick

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Cedar Falls (IA)

    Class of 2026

    The next star of the Hawkeye State burst onto the scene just a few months ago, finishing runner-up at the Iowa State Championships in cross country. He followed that up with a 15:01.9 lifetime best and a 10th-place finish at NXR Heartland, solidifying himself as the eighth-fastest athlete in state history.

    His indoor season is already off to an incredible start, thanks to a pair of PRs at the CYUP Misfits Invite over the weekend. Merrick took on the mile and 2-mile double, running 4:18.41 and 9:16.84, respectively.

    Nearing the end of January, he currently ranks third and first in both events throughout the sophomore class.

    Skyler Franklin

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    Montverde Academy (FL)

    Class of 2026

    Right now, the sprinting sensation from Florida leads the sophomore class in not one but three different events.

    A few weeks ago at The VA Showcase, Franklin's 7.46 in the 60m and 24.24 in the 200m set her apart from the rest of the Class of 2026. Over the weekend at the RADD Sunshine Showcase, she clocked a time of 54.75 in the 400m, making her the only sophomore to dip below 55 seconds this season. 

    Overall she sits, 14th, 16th and ninth over those respective distances, joining some pretty coveted company.