Eugene, OR. It was 15 years in the making, but Suffern's 2006 4xMile New York state and national record has finally gone down.
This past Friday, as things were starting to heat up for a scorching day ahead at new Hayward Field during the NSAF Outdoor Nationals presented by Nike, the Saratoga foursome of Ella Kurto (junior), Alycia Hart (freshman), Mackenzie Hart (junior), and Emily Bush (freshman) lowered the old 4xMile mark set by the Mounties' Christy Goldman, Shelby Greany, Caroline Heidt, and Kara McKenna by more than 16 seconds at 19:40.67.
The Blue Streaks were pushed to the record by Niwot (CO), which also finished third to Saratoga at the last Nike Cross Nationals championship in 2019. Kurto, Bush, and Mackenzie Hart were on the NXN championship squad, while the Niwot's 4xMile team's top runner Lucca Fulkerson, and anchor Madison Shults, were at 2019 NXN.
Three other Saratoga runners on a second 4xMile squad that finished seventh in the field -- Sheridan Wheeler, Catherine Mongan, and Anya Belisle (all but Sadie McBain) -- were also on the 2019 NXN champs.
Both Saratoga and Niwot used the same strategy for the race by putting their top runners -- Kurto and Fulkerson -- on the first leg. Niwot (also known as Real Training) got out to almost a second's lead over Saratoga (aka Kinetic). Niwot then continued to hold on to a tiny lead at the halfway point, but the balanced Blue Streak team opened up more than a seven second lead on Mackenzie Hart's third leg.
Emily Bush needed just a 5:10 on the anchor to get the national record, and she ran well below that to give Saratoga the national championship by more than four seconds. All together, the legs were Kurto (4:52.83), Alycia Hart (4:57.75), Mackenzie Hart (4:55.85), and Bush (4:54.27). Niwot was also 11 seconds under the previous record.
The meet was not over for Toga, though, as it finished second in hotter conditions in the distance medley relay as the same quartet from the 4xMile finished nine seconds behind Niwot.
Sheridan Wheeler from Toga's second 4xMile squad also got to splash in the 2K steeplechase and took eighth.
The deep Blue Streaks team has basically everyone back next year and could be making some serious attacks not only on their new outdoor national record but also their national indoor mark of 19:59.24 set by the 2006 national champ Toga squad of Lindsey Ferguson, Karyn Delay, Caitlin Lane, and Nicole Blood.