Rocky Mountain High senior Michael Slagowski already owns the nation’s top times in the 800 and 1,600 meters this season.
On Friday night, he joined an even more exclusive group.
Slagowski won the elite mile at the 16th annual Nike Jesuit Twilight Relays in Portland in 3 minutes, 59.53 seconds, becoming the ninth high school athlete in history to complete the event in under four minutes.
“It was really loud, and there were people lined up all along the infield shouting and cheering me on,” Slagowski said. “The atmosphere was really good.”
According to mile split.com, Slagowski’s time is the second fastest mile in prep-only competition behind Jim Ryun’s 3:58.3 from 1965. It is the seventh fastest overall.
“I definitely never would have thought I would be (at this level),” Slagowski said. “Even last year.”
Slagowksi, who has signed with Penn State, won the 5A state individual cross country title last fall, and he is the reigning 5A state champion in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
He said Friday’s race felt “really smooth” but admits he was “barely able to hold on” the last lap.
“For everybody on the Rocky track team, it was just a moment of absolute elation,” Rocky Mountain coach Brad Abbott said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
Abbott said Slagowski has been training with the intent to break the 4-minute barrier all season.
“He’s been battling a little cold all week, and last night it kind of subsided just a little bit,” Abbott said.
“So we thought, ‘Alright, if we can get some good weather, we can make a run at this thing.’ So yeah, it’s been in the plans for months now. That’s why we wanted to run at sea level in Portland, Oregon, to give him the best shot at it.”
Slagowski also was slated to run a leg on Rocky Mountain’s 4x400 relay later in the meet. Abbott told Slagowksi he could find a replacement.
“Nope, I’ll do it. I’m good for it,” Abbott said Slagowski told him. “I just need to cool down.”
Rocky Mountain took fourth in the relay race in 3:22.93, with Slagwoski running the anchor leg.
High school sub-4 milers
- Alan Webb, 3:53.43 (2001)
- Jim Ryun, 3:55.3 (1965)
- Drew Hunter, 3:58.25 (2016)
- Matthew Maton, 3:59.38 (2015)
- Grant Fisher, 3:59.38 (2015)
- Tim Danielson, 3:59.4 (1966)
- Michael Slagowski, 3:59.53 (2016)
- Lukas Verzbicas, 3:59.71 (2011)
- Marty Liquori, 3:59.8 (1967)
Source: The Wall Street Journal and Idaho Statesman research