Last year we saw two sophomores, Will Atkins (West Forsyth) and Mark Alkins (Durham Academy) run 1:55 in the 800m. Atkins clocked 1:55.51 and Atkins 1:55.85. The class had three others, Jake Toomey (Weddington), Jason Thomson (North Lincoln) and AJ Williams (Pinecrest) break 1:58 on the year.
Though the 800m isn't a normal indoor event in North Carolina, three of these guys clocked big times in the event. Alkins ran 1:54.47 at the UK High School Invitational, Atkins 1:55.52 at the VA Showcase and Faison 1:56.74 at the Music City HS Invitational. For Alkins and Faison is was faster than their outdoor PRs, and Atkins was .01 off his PR.
So the question is, can any of these current juniors become some of the best over 800 meters in North Carolina history? We've had 5 boys under 1:50 and 12 under 1:51. The deepest year in the 800m was 2015, where we saw Philip Hall, Elijah Inuwa and Vincent Crisp all under 1:51.
So are the current 2020 class stars in the 800m on par with what the best in state history ran during their sophomore year?
Delgado breaking 1:50 last year at the Music City Distance Carnival
|James Wilson||Greensboro Day||1990||1:50.61||-||-|
What we see is that from the 10 athletes we had data on from their junior year, their average time was 1:52.92. The range goes from 1:49.27 up to 1:55.48. The average from the 8 we had data for as sophomores is 1:55.21. From the sophomore data, Engels is certainly an outlier at 2:02, but it does show that athletes can have a meteoric rise over their final two years of high school.
On thing I think the data shows is that it's really had to run a super fast 800m in high school. Ferris, Williams and Crisp were all elite under 1:50 as juniors, but narrowly improved their time as seniors. It's rare to find high school races that fast so you have to be spot on in your few opportunities.
We will see Alkins in the Championship section and Atkins and Faison in the Emerging Elite 800m at New Balance Indoor Nationals which should be a great indicator of what they can do this outdoor season.
It's certainly hard to know the ceiling for these athletes, but with a lot of depth in the event, I think the 2020 class could be one of the best ever when it's all said and done next year in the 800m.