The 'Larry Byrne Archives' are a living document, chronicling the Top 50 Marks ever run by a New York Athlete in each event, Indoors and Out. Beginning in the mid-60's, and transferred online to MileSplit NY in 2014, the Archives are updated yearly to include new names and marks, and push out others. However, some of the very best athletes persevere, and the threshold to be included gets harder every year.
We decided to run the numbers,
and see what the All-Time lists say about the marks they include. More
specifically, we wanted to see which time period in NY History has stood
the test of time, which have fallen to the wayside, and is the current
generation of athletes so strong, they're wiping away marks previously
thought untouchable? Let's dig in.
- Contrasted against the boys numbers, the girls can only draw from the past forty years, as opposed to the century the boys have been at it. Title IX was implemented in 1972, and mass participation didn't begin for a few years after that. As such, distribution of marks is more condensed over a shorter period of time.
- Even though girls were included in 1972, it took several years to be truly equal. For many years, they had a separate State Meet. Merged in the early 1980's, it would take another twenty years to gain the same event options as the boys. As such, marks from the Steeple and the Pole Vault, only include those in the 2000's and beyond, minus the sole mark from 1999. Girls vault was introduced in 1998 to the State Meet, where the winning mark was 11-0. Only two girls total cleared 9-0 in the entire meet.
- The Girls who did break through in the 70's were those with strong natural talent, and a will to achieve. Many worked through the AAU to find new opportunities, and develop their talent. Names like Kim Thomas (Cardozo) who ran 53.36 in the 400m and Cheryl Toussaint (Erasmus Hall) (above, right) with a 2:04.5 for the 800m in 1970 were putting up times that would be competitive for State Titles today, while still running on cinders.
- The 80's saw the female athletes in the State come into their own, and develop their top-end talent. Numerous State Class Records still exist from the 80's, as female athletes were finally seeing a path towards College Scholarships, and participation was becoming more wide-spread. Split between the 80's and 90's, High Jump saw the biggest concentration of talent. 65% of the All-Time marks in the HJ come from before 2000.
- Where the 80's saw the top end, the 90's saw the depth of competition explode. The sport had developed into an almost equal partner to the boys side of things. Whereas the boys saw a decrease in performance in the distance events, girls were just now coming into their own, and establishing strong marks throughout. For the individuals in the 90's, no event could compare to the depth in the Girls Triple Jump. State Records through every Class persisted here, until the Overall State Record was finally broken in 2016, and then the Junior Class record went down in 2019.
- In the mid-2000's, the team concept of Girls Running took the forefront. Much of that could be attributed to some of the team success seen in Cross Country. Translated over to the Track, Relay marks began to explode with talent, especially towards the end of the decade. Nearly 40% of all Relay All-Time marks come from the late 2000's. Still, there was plenty of individual talent, many of which who make up our current and former Olympic team, including Molly Huddle (above, left).
- There is no question that the girls in New York have seen a running boom over the past decade. No time like the present has seen such quality and depth across the State, in nearly every event. Girls Distance Running in particular, dominate the All-Time lists. Breaking the 10min barrier in the 3000m used to guarantee a State Title. Nowadays, you're lucky to make the podium.