For The First Time Ever, VA Has Three Boys Sub 9 Minutes

In the entire history of Virginia distance running, only 17 boys have ever broken the nine minute barrier for 3200m. After this past weekend, its now 20 boys and quite a few more could join them too. Right now the state leader in the event is Nathan Atchue (8:54.24) who won the Dogwood Track Classic. 

Right behind Atchue is Charlie Ortmans (8:54.32) who has broken 9 twice this season and Bazil Mathes (8:56.18) who finished second at Dogwood for his first sub-9 performance. 

These times rank sixth, eighth, and 11th all-time. 

Historically these have been the years with a sub 9 performance: 1975, 1977, 1979 (2), 1982, 2002 (2), 2004 (2), 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 (2), and 2018 (2). 

These dates show us a few things. First, that it is extremely rare to see a sub 9 performance. It has only happened in 31% of the years since the first sub 9. The second is the phenomenon of athletes "running up" or competing with what they have to compete with. 

We'll explain...

Though barriers are important (4:20 in the Mile, 9:00 in the 3200, 50 in the 400 and so on), most athletes chase competition rather than just a time. That means when one person is fast, others will be trying to compete with them. That is why you see the dates above in spurts where maybe a junior had to run against a fast senior and the following year broke 9 themselves.

There will always be outliers but for the most part, you will see multiple athletes close at the top of the leaderboard whether it is at 8:59-9:02 or 9:17-9:19. Its usually very close. The biggest outliers though are Sean McGorty and Drew Hunter 2012-2016. They just dominated. 

Knowing all this, it makes this year just that much more impressive. Three guys are already sub 9 and we think another 4 or 5 could break through as well.

Boys 3200m Rankings