Middaugh brothers break Battle Mountain 3200-meter run record at Arcadia Invitational | VailDaily.com

Middaugh brothers break Battle Mountain 3200-meter run record at Arcadia Invitational

Five Huskies competed at prestigious California high school meet

John O’Neill probably could have predicted a Middaugh would eventually break his 3200-meter school record. Putting money down on which one — Porter or Sullivan — wouldn’t have been a surefire wager.

In this case, hedging the bet would have been the right call.

O’Neill’s 2008 time of 9 minutes, 16.88 seconds was taken down by both brothers last Friday night at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in California. Racing in heat three of the non-seeded division, sophomore Porter Middaugh clocked in at 9:14.03. Ten minutes later, his older brother, Sullivan further redistributed the school’s top-10 list, running, 9:16.29, a 24-second personal best.

Porter Middaugh on his way to running 9 minutes, 14.03 seconds in the 3200-meter run, a Battle Mountain school record.
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“I was super excited,” Porter summarized.

Hoping for 9:30 coming into the race, his excitement grew with each step as the laps consistently breached the 71-second agenda.

“I just felt so good, so I was happy that the pace was moving and that I was hanging on,” he said of the first mile, where he positioned himself at the back of a steady train of elite runners. One reason Arcadia lends to quick times is the “high volume of fast and intelligent runners,” according to head coach Rob Parish.

“No one is taking it out way too fast,” Parish added. “They all understand that to run a great time, the key is to be consistent.”

Lindsey Kiehl, Sullivan Middaugh, Porter Middaugh, Will Brunner and Milaina Almonte all competed at the Arcadia Invitational in California last Friday and Saturday.
Rob Parish/Courtesy photo

Still, living in a snow and ice-filled town at 7,400 feet makes spring speed sessions nearly impossible. Thus, when the lights go up and the wind dies down at the most elite high school track meet in the country, having confidence in one’s turnover requires a bit of a leap of faith.

“There’s no way to replicate the Arcadia speed, so they just have to trust you,” Parish admitted, noting that before his crew left Edwards, he spoke to the four athletes — Milaina Almonte and Lindsey Kiehl raced as well — on the program’s past success at the meet and the current crop’s opportunity to demonstrate their fitness.

“It’s just the history of going to that race; I’ve known that over the years that the studs —if they’ve done the work over the winter and really done a great job over the last month — if they’ve never run Arcadia before, they can PR by 20-30 seconds there,” he said.

“The key is getting the kid to think that they can do that, too.”

Porter remained hesitant.

“I honestly didn’t think I could shave that much off, but I knew I was a lot fitter than the beginning of the track season, and we’ve never gotten a chance to race at sea level, so anything could happen,” he articulated. Both brothers ran easy distance runs three to four times per week during their winter sports’ seasons, accumulating base mileage to prepare for Arcadia.

“I was like, ‘do you want to go? If you do, we should do these things,’” Parish said about his multi-sport student-athletes’ prerequisite commitment. Even when he proposed the meet in December, it was up to them.

“I said it’s up to you as athletes. If you guys want to not run in the winter and just focus on basketball and skiing, that’s cool, no problem, but then we aren’t going to Arcadia,” Parish said.

Will Brunner competes at the Arcadia Invitational last weekend.
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In the end, the dedication was worth it. Leading up to the meet, the two completed a 14×400-meter workout, targeting 68-70 seconds for each repetition.

“That was definitely the biggest 400 workout I’ve done, which gave me quite a bit of confidence in the cold, windy weather — not like California,” Porter said.

After negative-splitting his second mile and taking the lead with 200 meters remaining, the sophomore wound up getting run down in the final straightaway. Afterwards, he walked over to the warm-up corral to wish his brother luck.

“I told him my time, and I think he got quite a bit of motivation from that, but he was super excited for me,” Porter stated.

“I knew that how his race went would be a good indicator of how mine might go, so when I heard his time, I tried to think of it as, ‘wow, that’s a confidence booster, and I could go out and race just as fast or faster,’” Sullivan said of the pre-race moment. He executed an evenly paced race hitting 4:37 at the halfway before winding up with what would have been the school record, had it been run 10-minutes earlier.

“I’m not disappointed with that at all,” Sullivan said. “It’s a super big motivator for me, knowing that I can have an amazing rest of the season.”

The 5-kilometer cross-country school record holder, the senior has been the big man on campus throughout his storied career. The pecking order may have momentarily jostled, but the senior focused on being thrilled for his little brother.

“I think he was cheering for me the whole race, but after, when I realized I didn’t quite beat him, I was super happy for him because I knew he would have the fastest 3200-meter at Battle Mountain ever run,” Sullivan warmly stated.

“I always knew he was capable of that.”

Sullivan Middaugh races the mile on the second day of the Arcadia Invitational in California.
Special to the Daily

While the boys may have rewritten the record book — sophomore Will Brunner also ran 9:39.11, the program’s fifth-fastest 3200 — it was Almonte who put together the best double. Twelve hours after running 11:12.81 Friday night — 32-seconds faster than her 3200 personal best at the start of the year — she posted a 5:10 in the full mile (1609 meters) the next day.

“Milaina had a really impressive double,” Parish noted. “I think she had the best Saturday race out of anybody.”

Kiehl sped to the eighth-fastest 800-meter time in Husky history, posting a 2:20.48. Porter and Sullivan doubled back to run 4:26.91 and 4:27.50, respectively, in the mile.

“They know there’s a lot of racing to go,” Parish said.

“The record-writing is not anywhere close to being done for the season.”

Milaina Almonte cruises in the mile during the second day of competition at the Arcadia Invitational.
Special to the Daily


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