Distance runners from Saratoga Springs High School’s much-acclaimed girls’ program have another national record to their credit after a dominant performance Friday at the University of Oregon.
The all-underclassmen foursome of Ella Kurto, Alycia Hart, Mackenzie Hart and Emily Bush joined for a triumphant 19:40.67 in the championship division 4 x One Mile relay at The Outdoor Nationals at Hayward Field to take down a long-standing mark in the event.
The season-ending, Nike-sponsored meet that brings together the country’s elite track and field performers saw the Saratoga group, running as Kinetic Track Club, smash the existing outdoor 4 x One Mile national record of 19:56.75 that a team from Suffern, New York, had produced in 2006.
“This is what they’ve been running for,” said Linda Kranick, who co-coaches the Saratoga/Kinetic runners with her husband, Art Kranick. “Now we have the indoor and outdoor records.”
“We’ve had that goal in mind for the past few months. We huddled up and said, ‘Let’s do it,'” Kurto, a junior, said of the outdoor mark. “All the hard work we’ve done paid off.”
The 4 x One Mile national indoor record has stood since 2005 when Saratoga’s Lindsey Ferguson, Karyn Delay, Caitlin Lane and Nicole Blood joined for a 19:59.24.
“We’ve got all of them coming back,” Kranick said. “It will give them something to shoot for next year.”
“We’re really excited about this,” said Mackenzie Hart, the foursome’s other 11th-grader. “This gives us an extra boost of confidence heading into next year.”
There were no New York state championships in track and field this past school year due to restrictions brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Kurto ran Friday’s first leg in 4:55.841 to set the tone.
“I just wanted to go out and put us in a position to get the national record,” Kurto said.
Alycia Hart ran the second leg and the freshman was timed in 4:57.743. Mackenzie Hart followed in 4:52.821, and Bush, another ninth-grader, closed out the victory in 4:54.263 on a sunny, 85-degree day. Race runner-up Real Training Track Club from Colorado clocked a 19:45.37, and the other 12 teams all finished in over 20 minutes including Kinetic’s ‘B’ squad (ninth, 21:28.26).
“The first two legs they [Real Timing] had girls right with us,” Mackenzie Hart said. “I made a gap, and Emily kept that gap and held them off.”
The meet 4 x One Mile record of 19:58.07 set by a team from Roxbury, New Jersey, in 2006 also fell by the wayside.
“It was very consistent,” Kranick said of her groups’ record-breaking run. “They knew each of their responsibilities and ran for each other. It really was great. Just great kids.”
Mackenzie Hart, Kurto and Bush scored points when Kinetic XC won the national cross country championship for the second time in December of the 2019-20 school year.
“We’ve been doing this since 1985, and it doesn’t get old,” Kranick said. “It’s still so much fun.”
On Saturday Kinetic is entered in the distance medley relay with the same four runners that prevailed in the record-setting 4 x One Mile, and has Sheridan Wheeler entered in the 2,000 steeplechase. Kurto (mile, two mile) and Bush (mile) are also entered in individual distance events but may opt not to compete. Kinetic’s strong showing at the recent New York State Showcase included a win in the DMR.
Guilderland has a girls’ sprint medley relay team entered for the Saturday competition.
Also among Saturday’s competitors with local connections are Gitch Hayes of La Salle who is entered in the mile, and Julian Franjieh of Niskayuna, Dan Pavelec of Shaker and Noah Bonesteel of Averill Park in the 2,000 steeplechase.