Perusing the internet early this morning I came across this article which lists the writers’ ten most untouchable high school records. Prompted I’m sure by the prospect of Ryan Crouser perhaps finally having a shot at Mike Carter’s unbelievable mark – pun intended.
Of course Carter’s massive 81’ 3.5” put headlines the list, as it should. I had the privilege of being there when it was set and it was one of the most awesome performances I’ve seen in track and field at any level! But I have lots of reservations with the list after Carter. While I appreciate the attempt and the fact that it gives track and field added publicity, I’m not sure the writer really understands the complexity of some of the sports events – or just how good some of those records are.
So here is my list of the 10 Most Untouchable Records. You can compare and let me know if I’m on the mark, or off it.
1. Boys Shot Put – 81’ 3.5” – Michael Carter, 1979
No question. The mark has lasted longer than most readers have been alive. Never have I heard a stadium so silent for the shot put, as the tension built each time Carter took the ring at the Golden West Invitational – his final competition as a prep. And when the shot went up it seemed like it might never come back down.
2. Boys 100 Meters – 10.01 – Jeff Demps, 2008
This mark didn’t even make the top ten on the Max Preps list. My guess is because it was set so recently. A mark has to be set at some point, however, and the fact that it’s only a few years old doesn’t take away from it’s awesomeness. After all I KNEW Carter’s mark would last a lifetime as soon as it was set! And this mark is in that category. 10.01 is a MAN’s time! A time that would make any Olympic final in history. And unless it is broken by the smallest of margin’s the next record setter will have to run Sub10! A mark yet to be reached legally by any sprinter under the age of 20 – ever!
3. Boys 4x4 Relay – 3:07.40 – Hawthorne High, 1985
Another mark that did not crack the top ten on the Max Preps list – though the 4x1 (39.75) did. While the 4x1 is a formidable mark it’s just a matter of time before another school gets two sprinters together in the 10.50 range and pairs them with a couple of decent sprinters and adds great passing. And personally I think the mark is a bit soft – especially given today’s uber fast surfaces. The 4x4 mark, however, will take four awesome young men with at least one being a super star stud! Consider that on that Hawthorne team 1992 Olympic 200 meter gold medalist Marsh was the second best sprinter on campus and the slowest man on the 4x4! Super prep Henry Thomas anchored the squad with an eye dropping 44.5!
4. Girls 800 Meters – 2:00.07 – Kim Gallagher, 1982
For me this one is in the same league as the men’s 100. In order to break this record, that has stood FOREVER, unless it’s by the barest of margins a girl is going to have to run sub 2:00 – that’s a woman’s time! And Gallagher was every bit as awesome as Mike Carter was. So awesome that in spite of constant illness and injury she still ran 1:56.91 and won medals in both the ‘84 and ‘88 Olympics – and she had ovarian surgery 6 months before her silver medal in ‘84! She’s a once in a lifetime athlete. And frankly #2, #3, and this mark #4 could easily be considered 2a, 2b, and 2c on the list. And I’m happy to say that I’ve had the privilege of watching them all compete!
5. Boys Mile – 3:53.43 – Alan Webb, 2001
When super star high school kids are struggling to break 4:00, that’s about all you need to know about this mark! I guess this should really be 2d on the list. The mark it took down was set back in 1965 by the legendary Jim Ryun. No doubt the shelf life on this one could be nearly as long.
6. Girls 100 Hurdles – 12.95 – Candy Young, 1979
This mark was omitted on the Max Preps list as well – but it too is a grown woman’s mark! She is often forgotten because ‘79 was the year of Mike Carter, but her mark was nearly as impressive! Only once in the 31 years since this record was set has anyone else even come close to 13.00 (13.03 in ‘07). After that it’s a “fur piece” back to the 13.20 that sits at #3 on the list! And like a 10.01 by a man, 12.95 gets you into the Olympic final!
7. Girls 200 Meters – 22.11 – Allyson Felix, 2003
Another mark that gets you into an Olympic final. I rank her behind Young’s hurdle mark only because it was set at altitude – so she had a bit of assistance there where Young did not. But when Marion Jones is #2 on the list at 22.58, that about tells you just how formidable a mark this is! For the record, Felix also ran 22.51 that year without altitude – so she owns the record altitude or not. Felix has lived up to the hype with 3 World Championships golds and a pair of Olympic silvers to her credit.
8. Boys 400 Meters – 44.68 – Darrell Robinson, 1982
Another mark that would make an Olympic final. No other high schooler has even broken 45.00. And this is an event that has seen some real studs – Jerome Young, Henry Thomas (anchor on the 3:07.40 4x4), Calvin Harrison, Lashawn Merritt, and Jeremy Wariner to name but a few. All of whom have brought home Olympic gold. Need I say more.
9. Boys 200 – 20.13 – Roy Martin, 1985
It’s getting tougher to weed out marks, but finally went with this one. Mostly because the next best mark on the list dates back to 1976! Martin competed during a magical time in the sprints as he, Henry Thomas and Joe Deloach were all in the same class and laid down some amazing marks. Deloach still sits at #3 all time while Thomas is #3 all time in the 400 – his 3rd best event at the time! And Thomas’ teammate Mike Marsh wasn’t even in the mix – though he was state 200 champion and became Olympic champion in 1992! Only twice in the New Millennium have we even seen someone run under 20.50. This mark is as tough as they come.
10. Boys High Jump – 7’ 7” – Andra Manson, 2002
Final mark on the list and it was a tough cut as I struggled with this one. But once again this is a man’s mark. The kind of mark that will be in the running to make the Olympic team and generally gets into the Olympic final. Only six other high schoolers in history have even gone 7’ 5”. And only one over 7’ 6” – twenty eight years ago! I think that says it all.
These are the toughest high school marks in my opinion. Yes it’s heavy on the boys side, but they have been competing longer. Their marks have taken more of a beating and the girls marks being newer are a bit softer in places – more room for improvement. That’s not to diminish any of the records that are out there. They are all extremely tough. These just happen to be the elite of the elite IMHO. And that’s what it is, my opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts.