In a final goodbye to 2022, Sophia Rodriguez (Dallastown Area) put an exclamation point on what has been one of the best years by a Middle Schooler to date.
Her Cross Country season was nothing short of sensational. In late November, she won a couple of regional championships, and in December, she placed inside the Top-10 at the Garmin RunningLane National XC Championships. A week later, she won the USATF JO Junior XC Championship.
So what better way to start the 2023 Indoor Season than with a US No. 1 and the fastest 3200m time ever run by a Middle School girl indoors?
At the Lab Holiday Invite in Michigan, Sophia Rodriguez watched her sister Victoria Rodriguez (Dallastown) run a 5:07 1600m personal best. Soon it would be her turn to take the track and display her prowess.
"I was super excited for her (Victoria), and that motivated me to run even faster; I wanted to make the trip to Michigan worth it for the family," said Sophia. "I wanted to improve my time from Outdoors (Warrior Classic in November) when I ran 10:45 in cold and windy weather. In that race, my last mile was 5:18. When I won the USATF Junior Olympics Cross Country 4km, my opening mile was 5:13, and I came through 3200m in 10:41, so I knew if I ran more steadily, I could improve my time."
She made improvement look easy and threw down a 10:21.39 3200m. She stormed through the opening mile split right around 5:01, a time which would have won the open 1600m. She then closed with a 5:20 to claim her sterling new time.
"When the race started, I didn't know how fast I was going, but once my dad yelled out my mile split (5:01-5:02), I knew it was a special day and just kept running hard," added Rodriguez.
Although Rodriguez's mark is the fastest time by a middle school girl indoors, it technically will not go down as a national record. The surface at the Lincoln Athletic Building is 300m long, which would ultimately remove the mark from consideration. Additionally, there are no official records for middle school marks.
But according to our research, it is the fastest indoor 3200m time (regardless of the surface) and the third fastest 2 Mile/3200m all-time (Indoor and Outdoor). Her time would currently sit as a US No. 1 amongst High Schoolers.
Rodriguez has just begun to write her legacy. Although we will have to wait until next year to see her compete on the High School circuit, her marks are on par with the best, and we can expect to see her repeat stellar performances throughout this year.