Sunday January 31st, 2016

Drew Hunter of Loudoun Valley, Va. became the first high school runner to break eight minutes in the 3,000-meter run as he set a new high school record of 7:59.33 at the Camel City Invitational in Winston Salem, N.C.

“It was fun,” Hunter said after his race, “Because of the snow, I haven’t been able to workout on a track much so I’ve been spending time on the treadmill. My next two races will be miles, so I’ll be focusing on more race-specific work at mile pace.”

Hunter ran in a race that featured professional and collegiate runners and finished fifth, while Garrett Heath (professional runner for the Brooks Beasts) won in 7:48.48 ahead of Kenya's Lawi Lalang.

The previous record was held by Edward Cheserek, the current NCAA cross-country champion and a junior at Oregon, when he ran 8:05.46 en route to a 8:39.15 two-mile at the 2013 Millrose Games in new York. Hunter has committed to run for the Ducks next year and will be teammates with Cheserek.

The performance by Hunter is also the fastest by an American high school runner indoors since Gerry Lindgren ran 8:06.3 in 1964. Hunter also knocked out U.S. distance running legend Steve Prefontaine from the all-time juniors list and is now No. 10 all-time by an athlete under 20 years old, according to Track and Field News.

Hunter is coming off a cross-country season in which he claimed the Footlocker National Championship crown. 

Hunter will attempt to become the second high school runner to break four minutes for the mile, when he races at the Armory Track Invitational in New York next weekend. He has a personal best of 4:02.36 from his junior year outdoor season at last June’s Adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile. The fastest indoor mile by a high school student was run in 3:59.86 by American record holder Alan Webb in 2001. hunter's parents also coached Webb in his freshman year of high school.

Last year, Matthew Maton (Summit High School, Ore.) and Grant Fisher (Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) became the sixth and seventh high school students to break the four minute barrier respectively. Maton now runs for the Oregon Ducks. Fisher was the top American-born freshman with a 17th-place finish for Stanford at last month’s NCAA cross-country national championships. Hunter defeated Fisher at the 2015 Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, when Hunter kicked to a 8:42.51 finish in the two-mile run.

- Christopher Chavez

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