Nico Young will begin his final high school track and field season and will be going after the 3000m indoor record
The Newbury Park (CA) High School senior and Northern Arizona University signee will go after the American U20 indoor 3,000 meter record of 7:56.31, which was last set by Chris Derrick -- while he was with Stanford in 2009 -- at the Millrose Games on February 8 in New York City.
If accomplished, Young, 17, would also surpass Drew Hunter's national high school 3K record of 7:59.33 for the distance. Hunter accomplished that feat in 2016, becoming the only high school athlete to ever go under 8 minutes indoors -- only two athletes have done it across both seasons; German Fernandez owns the outdoor 3K record in 7:59.83.
But here's the twist.
Young, running unattached, will be entered in the professional field. As per National Federation of High School State Associations (NFHS) rules, Young will be able to race against pros and collegians -- and not lose his remaining CIF eligibility -- based upon the fact that Millrose does not offer a high school race at the distance.
A year ago, all but one runner in the 12-person field broke 8-minutes, with Stanford's Grant Fisher leaning past Wisconsin's Morgan McDonald at the line to win in 7:42.62.
Young has raced once since cross country, putting down a 1,500m performance (outdoors) of 3:52.39 at the Arcadia Winter Championships qualifier on Jan. 25.
And he's still relatively fresh since coming off a record performance at Nike Cross Nationals, where he broke the 5K meet record at Glendoveer and ran a winning time of 14:52.30.
While Young has just one indoor performances overall -- he was eighth in the boys mile at the New Balance Grand Prix in 2019 -- those around him remain confident he will excel in the field. Young's head coach, Sean Brosnan, said Young will not seek out a fast mile in 2020, with focus instead placed on 3,000 and 5,000 meter races.
Meaning: While Young could run fast 1,600 meter and mile races in 2020, his objective will not be on going under 4 minutes for the distance as a high school senior.
In recent years, there have been five sub-8:10 efforts since 2010, including performances from Hunter, Edward Cheserek (2x) and Lukas Verzbicas (2x) -- national cross country champions in high school.
Young ran 8:13.31 for 3K in February of last year at the Rossi Relays. He remains in fitness and has been eyeing several records attempts to begin 2020.
posted Wednesday January 29th
by Cory Mull