Zach Perrin nearly did it again.
The Flathead senior clocked 8:57.68 in the 3,200 at the Arcadia Invitational in California last weekend, finishing just two seconds off his historic time set a year ago. Perrin placed 14th in a highly competitive race against some of the nation’s fastest prep runners. Last year, Perrin ran 8:55.24, the fastest time ever for a Montana high school runner.
A total of 18 runners broke nine minutes at this year’s 46th annual Arcadia meet, including Missoula Hellgate senior Adam Peterman, who finished eight laps in 8:57.10 to win the second heat of the 3,200. Glacier senior Troy Fraley finished the 3,200 in 9:12, placing ninth in the second heat at Arcadia.
On the girls side, Bigfork sophomore Makena Morley placed eighth in the top heat of the 3,200 with a time of 10:30.02, which is one of the fastest girls times ever for a Montana high school runner.
Last weekend became a hallmark moment for Montana high school distance running. Perrin and Peterman are now the only prep runners to break nine minutes from Big Sky Country, and Fraley’s time ranks in the top 10 of all-time as well.
Morley surpassed Emily Nay of Helena Capital and now stands behind only Zoe Nelson for the fastest 3,200 marks. Nay ran 10:38 at Arcadia in 1995. Nelson ran sub 10:30 six times during her illustrious prep career, including 10:20 at Arcadia in 2004, the fastest mark ever for a Montana girl.
As the Beacon pointed out in last week’s preview of the spring sports season, this latest crop of sensational distance runners is worth watching. Granted these recent times at Arcadia occurred at sea level, it’s still worth noting that each of them would break or nearly break longstanding state records. The boys all-class state record for the 3,200 is 9:13, set by Gordon Ruttenbur in 1982. The Class AA record is 9:16, set by Flathead’s Seth Watkins in 2001.
The girls all-class state record for the 3,200 is 10:26, set by Nelson in 2004. The Class B state record is 10:46, set by Sabrina Monro of Boulder in 1998.
However, this year’s state meets for Class AA and B are once again at higher elevations, which will make it harder to pull off record-setting performances. The combined AA/B meet is in Bozeman, with an elevation of 4,820.
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