While there might not be much
track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore
through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State
Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their
marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be
releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it
takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!
We look here at the tenth-oldest record still on the books for the girls. Enjoy!
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The distance medley race at 2011 Nationals early on Saturday morning is three legs gone and the race is down to the 1600m and two teams. Last year's 4x800m champs Fayetteville-Manlius is chasing the team that finished 4th to them there, but this time the positions are reversed. Front running Harvard Westlake of Los Angeles has three of last year's 4x8 squad back for this DMR race, and their lead-off and anchor legs are two of the top runners in the nation. So for FM, also known as Stotan here at New Balance Nationals Outdoor, taking a crown here for the second year in a row will be very tough.
But though winning the national title is first and foremost, another goal here for a trio of NY teams is to take down the state record of 11:31.81 set three years before. Cornwall is in 5th with Aisling Cuffe on the anchor, and she won Foot Locker Nationals the previous fall by more than half a minute and last night ran the second fastest ever 2 mile to set a state record. But the effort has taken the snap out of Cuffe's legs, and the Dragons will finish a few seconds short of the state record. North Shore is also chasing the record, and behind States 3000m runner-up Samantha Nadel on the anchor and States 2K steeplechase runner-up Brianna Nerud on lead-off, the Vikings will beat the old NY mark DMR mark but still not get the record.
The new record will belong to FM Stotan after a huge effort here, even though the quest for a second straight come-from-behind win won't quite work out and Harvard Westlake will set the all-time US best. But if you give your best and it takes the all-time best to beat you and place you at #2 all-time, you've done good.
1200m lead-off leg Jillian Fanning was matched against the US #1 800m runner Amy Weissenbach who just ran out of her mind at 3:24.85 to put the rest of the teams in at least a 6 second hole. Stotan's Heather Martin chopped a big three seconds off that lead in her relatively short 400m leg that put FM-Stotan in 2nd. Katie Sischo, the lone hold-over from last year's 4x8 champs, chopped another 2 1/2 seconds off the deficit in her 800m leg to leave the Hornets less than a second behind as Courtney Chapman gets the stick for the anchor.
Chapman's story is one of dogged fortitude. Expected to lead FM's champion NXN team in the fall of 2010, she spent the previous summer vacationing and running in Ireland and breathed in too many particulates of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption that blanketed Europe for months. She spent the XC season battling back from respiratory issues and was the fifth runner in for the Hornets on a 2010 XC champs squad that has only the 2004 Saratoga team as a rival for being the best ever. Matched up against Harvard Westlake's Cami Chapus, US #2 in the nation behind only Aisling Cuffe, Chapman had her work cut out for her on the 1600m leg.
As been can be seen in the NBON video, HW's Chapus raced away from Chapman on the first lap of the anchor leg to reopen a big lead. Chapman patiently closed down the margin to a step or two going into the last lap, but there Chapus unleashed a kick that clinched the victory. Chapman closed it down to less than two seconds at the end, but it would be the silver medal for FM Stotan. That place did come with a 11:25.13 time that was more than 6 1/2 seconds under the state record and, as of 2020, the second best DMR time ever in the US. Two teams pulled each other to phenomenal times that no team has come anywhere close to in recent years.
When the 2011 track season opened, there was a lot of ways that things could go for Fayetteville-Manlius. From outdoor track in 2010, they were the reigning 4x800m national champs. From the 2010 XC season, they became an almost mythical presence with a score of 27 at NXN that included 2009 frontrunner Courtney Chapman as the fifth Hornet in, as the Hornets beat a 2nd place Saratoga squad by 77 points. Christie Rutledge (2nd), Katie Sischo (4th), Jillian Fanning (6th), Heather Martin (16th), and Chapman (29th), along with Emily McGurrin and Katie Brislin set a standard that likely will never be approached with a speed rating of 146, unheard of at Nationals or anywhere else.
But again, XC was not track, and FM had been known to relax quite a bit in track season on the road to the next XC season. Certainly most of the 2011 indoor season gave little to indicate that FM would be going hard for Nationals titles in the spring. Rutledge was out for both track seasons with injuries, and the Hornets were not as deep as the 2010 squad.
A 5th place finish at 9:28.87 in the 4x800m at indoor States didn't seem to show that much. A week later at the National Scholastic Indoor Championship though, a squad of Fanning, Martin, Sischo, and Chapman won the DMR title with a time of 11:39.58, outdistancing a trio of NY teams behind them including Shenendehowa, Bronxville, and Benjamin Cardozo.
The 2011 outdoor season got off to the usual laid back start, but then the Hornets hit the Penn Relays and came away with a win in the Championship of America DMR. With an all-time meet DMR mark of 11:34.46 and legs of Sischo in the 1200m at 3:35.4, Martin in the 400m at 56.7, Chapman in the 800m at 2:11.0, and Fanning in the 1600m at 4:51.39, FM had set itself up as the #1 DMR team in the nation.
At States though there is no team DMR race, just an intersectional DMR, and that is why the DMR event is being included in this state record holders series based on events held at the state championship. FM's distance group was instead in the 4x800m race at States and captured a win that had eluded it the year before as the team ran an 8:55.93 to beat out a strong pack of teams that included Shenendehowa, Bronxville, St. Anthony's and North Shore. Chapman also placed 3rd in the 1500m behind Mary Cain (NY frosh record) and Cuffe.
A week later it was on to Nationals, and in 2011 FM opted to put its resources into the DMR instead of trying to defend its title in the 4x800m. Bronxville captured the 4x8 in a time of 8:49.90 that is the 6th fastest time ever in the US and included a 2:03 leg from Cain. FM took 2nd in the DMR but got the state record of 11:25.33 that still stands to the present.
Before FM broke the state record in the DMR, it had been owned by Warwick Valley. In one of the most awesome feats by a team at Nationals, the Wildcats captured the wins in both the 4x800m race and the DMR, the latter in a time of 11:31.81. Both squads consisted of Tori Pennings, Kristen Jados, Claire Pettit, and Lillian Griebesland.