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. We're
releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it
takes, to put your mark on history. Tune in!
We are now looking at the records in a few events that are not at the outdoor States meet but definitely need to be highlighted. We look here at two long distance records from 2018 for events that are common for the boys but not so much for the girls. Enjoy!
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As is noted in the article about the boys record holders in the 1500m and 3000m, it is unusual for a state to have the boys and girls run different distances
for the longest of the commonly done events. Only New York and Iowa split the boys at 1600m/3200m and the girls at 1500m/3000m. Four other states -- HI, OR, RI, and VT -- run the girls and also the boys at the 1500m/3000m distances, and the rest all have athletes do the 1600m/3200m combo at state championships except for Massachusetts which selects the older and slightly longer mile and 2 mile distances.
The reason that the NY girls and boys run different distances in the longer events is buried in the past. We should remember though that when the girls first started having local track meets in the early 1970s the 880 yard race was usually the longest distance for the girls and that such standard events as the 50 yard dash and hurdles, softball throw, and standing broad jump were common for the girls up to the start of statewide competition in 1975. A few top girls runners from the 1960s onward were familiar with the 1500m distance at large AAU regional meets, and it is possible that this influenced the leaders of the separate NYSPHSAA girls T&F administration to choose the 1500m and 3000m distances for the girls in 1980 during the transition to the metric system after five years with the mile and 2 mile.
For the NY girls, running the college and international standard of the 1500m and 3000m distances has prepared them well for later competitions years down the road. But like the guys who get their shot at the 3000m at the Penn Relays, the girls get their shot at the "guys" distance at the huge Loucks Games (mile and 3200m combo), the Penn Relays for the mile, and then at Nationals for the mile and 2 mile. In recent years North Rockland's Katelyn Tuohy has used both the Loucks and Nationals meets to set state records in the distance events. Her record for the mile came at the 2018 New Balance Outdoor Nationals, and her record for 8 times around the track came on a Friday evening that year in the Loucks Games. And though Tuohy definitely holds the fastest converted mark for the 2 mile, there are still 18.68 meters to go for a 2 mile distance after completing 3200 meters. So for even more fun we are adding a nod to another NY legend, Cornwall's Aisling Cuffe, for a big run in the 2 mile at the 2011 NBON.
Katelyn Tuohy has been making news in outdoor T&F from the minute she stepped on the track as a 7th grader to win the 3000m of her school's Red Raider Invite with a US #1 time on an early April evening in 2015. During her six years on the track and XC trails, she piled up countless state and national class records, four individual and one team state record, three national records, eleven state championships, eight national championships in track and XC along with a bunch of other team relay national crowns. She was undefeated in scholastic action at distances of 1K and over during her junior and senior years had and just one loss in the Millrose Mile as a sophomore. So Tuohy has put in a few miles between 2015 and 2020 and has swept up a lot of medals.
The fastest mile she ran was as a sophomore on June 17, 2018 at Nationals, and as usual she did it running virtually alone. Shooting away from the outside in the seventh slot, Tuohy broke off a sizzling 67.24 on the first quarter to open up a 10 meter lead on a game Naima Turbes of Marietta GA. Tuohy pumped through a 69.08 on the second quarter to open up a bigger gap as only Turbes was willing to risk even staying within four seconds of the leader at the halfway point. By the end of a third lap at 69.28, Tuohy was the only one in the camera view. Tuohy needed about a 69.6 on the last quarter to break the 36-year-old national record of 4:35.25 by Polly Plummer. Tuohy dug home with a 68.27 to set a new national mark of 4:33.87. Six runners crashed in together about 15 seconds back as Turbes placed 5th. Tuohy took more than 5 seconds off the state record set by Mary Cain then of Bronxville at the 2012 Penn Relays when she demolished an elite field with a 4:39.28 in the Championship of America Mile. Cain holds the national indoor mark for the mile at 4:28.25 from 2013.
Katelyn Tuohy's outdoor state and national record at the 3200m distance and its 2 mile conversion estimate come from her spectacular evening race at the 2018 Loucks Games. Two months earlier she had won the 2 mile Nationals title at the Armory with a time of 9:58.89, hitting the 3000m mark at a 9:17.73 time that was the second best ever in NY behind only Mary Cain. Tuohy had also won her first NXN title back in December, and at Loucks she was pitted against Saratoga's Kelsey Chmiel who in January had won the Juniors title at the Great Edinburgh International XCountry Challenge. The Loucks race under the lights on May 11, 2018, had the camera locked on Tuohy for the last four laps as she hit the 3000m mark at 9:10.6 (at that point the NY record for non-professional HS athletes), and she hit the finish line for the 3200m about 40 seconds in the lead at 9:47.88 to set a new national record. Various conversion factors for the 2 mile equivalent have listed it at 9:51.29 (Track and Field News) or 9:51.38 (Larry Byrne archives). It was the last 3200m for Tuohy that season but she captured the 3000m at States with a new PR of 9:09.71, second in NY all-time only to Cain's 8:58.48 as a pro at the 2014 IAAF World Juniors meet. And she would still have two XC and indoor track and one outdoor track seasons still to go.
At the end of her junior outdoor track season in 2010, Cornwall's Aisling Cuffe had accumulated two States 3000m titles indoors and outdoors plus an XC States, Feds, and Foot Locker Northeast title, missing at Nationals only because of maybe a little too much of a good thing at Sunken Meadow for FL Regionals. The listings on MileSplit for her senior season include 40 1st places, with her only losses coming at the World Juniors XC championship, a 2nd to Tatnall's Haley Pierce in the Penn Relays 3000m, and a 2nd to Mary Cain in the States 3000m. She picked up wins at States, Feds, Foot Locker Nationals, and US Juniors in XC, at 3000m at States and the 2 mile at Nationals indoors, and she got a sweep of the 1600m and 3200m at Loucks, the States 3000m and the Nationals 2 mile outdoors.
The Nationals 2 mile on the evening of June 17, 2011 pitted Cuffe against a host of the top state champions from around the nation including Wesley Frazier of Raleigh NC, Erin Finn of West Bloomfield MI, Molly Seidel of Hartland WI, and Kayla Beattie of Woodstock IL who was in the midst of a phenomenal senior year. Only Beattie was able to stay close to Cuffe during the first half of the race, but by the 3000m mark with half a lap to go Cuffe had opened up almost a 10 second gap at 9:13.57. She dashed in at 9:54.22 for a new meet and state record and also a national mark for an official 2 mile unconverted time. Cuffe broke the state record (and national unconverted 2 mile record) of Molly Huddle of Elmira Notre Dame who won the National title in 2002 at 10:01.08.
Interview with Aisling Cuffe after win at 2011 Indoor Nationals. No interview for outdoor Nationals.