A few weeks before, Thrush had dipped under 2 minutes for the first time in his career in the 2-lapper with a 1:59.09 at the Kane Invitational. But we weren't prepared for what was coming under the lights and amid a slight mist in Pittsburgh at Baldwin.
Thrush proved it just takes the right race. It was a stacked 800 meter field that included Seneca Valley's Mike Kolor, Harbor Creek's Dan Kuhn, and Fox Chapel's Michael Bove. Thrush, a relative unknown at the time, put himself right in the thick of the race.
Kolor, presumably the pre-race favorite took it out hard and even opened up a gap on the trailing Kuhn, Thrush, and Bove through the first 500 meters. Thrush at this point was in fourth, drafting and not letting that gap get to be too much.
He made the pass on Kuhn with 200 to go, then made his way up to the shoulder of Bove, who had closed the gap on Kolor. With 100 to go, Thrush took off and was home free, powering to the line to win over Kolor and Bove in 1:52.76.
That time was over a six second personal best in the event for Thrush, a remarkable performance. Thrush, then a junior, focused on the 400 meters at the PIAA State Championships, winning the AA state title in 48.71. He would repeat as state champ a year later in the AA 400, running his PR of 48.18.
As for the 800, as a senior Thrush went 1:50.89 at the Butler Invitational in 2017. He's now at Harvard University.
This Friday would have brought us the Baldwin Invitational -- always one of the biggest meets on the Pennsylvania calendar and one that always brings together the top athletes from District 7 (WPIAL), District 8, District 10, and Thrush's District 9. It won't happen this year, but the unforgettable moments like this one, live on.
Watch the race above and check out the race video above.
|1||Ryan Thrush||11||Brookville Area||1:52.76||4|
|2||Michael Kolor||12||Seneca Valley||1:53.75||4|
|3||Michael Bove||12||Fox Chapel Area||1:53.94||4|
|4||Dan Kuhn||12||Harbor Creek||1:56.16||4|