Newbury Park High School's (CA) Nico Young after running 4:40.00 for US No. 8 all-time at the Arcadia Invitational
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Breaking the sub-9-minute 3200m barrier has long been an unofficial marker of boys high school distance success.
Sub-9 sets apart the elite distance runners from the rest of their respective classes. At the high school level, distance running appears to be better than its ever been, both in terms of depth and breadth of performances. A sub-9 doesn't garner the headlines that it used to.
But while it might appear that sub-9 is becoming more prevalent each year, a dive into the data suggests otherwise.
Each Year Over The Past Decade By The Numbers
|year||No. of sub-9 performances||no. of sub-9 athletes||No. of athletes with multiple sub-9's||total no. of sub-9 performances from athletes with multiple performances|
The best year of the past decade -- in terms of overall sub-9 performances -- was 2015 when 65 sub-9 performances were recorded to the MileSplit database. That same year there were also the most athletes total to run sub-9 with 51 having hit the benchmark.
This year actually ranks as one of the lowest years in terms of the number of sub-9 performances (36) as well as the overall number of sub-9 athletes (27). Granted the 2019 season isn't over but it's going to take a lot more guys running sub-9 this year to catch up to the 2015 and 2016 season when the numbers were the highest of the past decade.
Number Of Athletes Below A Specific Time
However, the 2019 season has been fast at the top. Only 2017 (3) and 2015 (3) had more boys run sub 8:45 than the 2019 (2) season. Newbury Park High School's (CA) Nico Young and Valor Christian High School's (CO) Cole Sprout, both of whom are juniors, have already run two of the fastest times of the decade with their 8:40.00 and 8:40.73, respectively.
The Top Multiple Sub-9 Athlete's By Season
**Indicates the athlete with the most sub-9 3200m performances in one season over the past decade.
Redwood High School's (CA) Liam Anderson made his mark this season as one of the best 3200m runners of the past decade. Anderson has run sub-9 a total of five times in 2018 which ties San Luis Obispo High's (CA) Callum Bolger
. Anderson and Bolger are only one shy of Loyola High School graduate Robert Brandt
who ran sub-9 six times during his senior year.
Check out a full breakdown of some of the best athletes to run sub-9 over the past decade in the links below.