Meet Recap: TDF Continues It's Elite Turnout

Girls layout on the track after an exhausting 3,200m race

Each year, the Texas Distance festival gets better and every year it seems to get faster. 

The top eight boy's 5K times in meet history came In 2017 including 10 sub 15 minute 5Ks and 14 more in 2019. On the girl's side, there were two sub 17 minute 5Ks in 2018 and five sub 17s in 2019 with Brynn Brown's 16:25 previous meet record.

Each year, the TDF attracts the best distance talent in the country. You can refer to last week's NCAA Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Several medalists and All-Americans all ran at the TDF when they were in high school

Both points were evident with this weekend's action in Southlake, Texas.

The girl's 1,600m got the crowd buzzing when Katy Cinco Ranch senior Heidi Nielson jumped out to an early 10m lead. The University of Arkansas signee would enforce that lead for the majority of the race until the last 120m when Hebron senior Keaton Morrison put on a huge last lap press to catch up.

The University of Alabama signee, Morrison, who is well known for her 800m prowess used that turnover to cut into Nielson's lead over the last lap setting up a big kick between the two. 

Morrison outlasted Nielson for the 4:50.32 to 4:50.72 win with Austin Vandegrift's Gemma Goddard finishing third in 4:56.69.

1Keaton MorrisonUnattached4:50.321211
2Heidi NielsonUnattached4:50.721211
3Gemma GoddardUnattached4:56.691211

The boy's 1,600m was the Ben Shearer show. The Woodland's Christian senior entered the meet with a 4:09 PR, but was determined by all costs to lower it. Although behind the clock for a PR for most of the race, a fast last 600m changed that as he would finish with a new 4:08.58 PR for the win.

Wylie senior Luke Lambert also put in a hard kick to get a top two finish. His last lap running and love for racing helped him turn in a 4:12.04.

It was Houston St John's junior Emmanuel Sgouros who introduced himself to most of the fans with a dazzling race. Sgouros exhibited an excellent effort for four laps keeping pace with Shearer as well as he could. 

1Ben ShearerUnattached4:08.581220
2Luke LambertUnattached4:12.041220
3Emmanuel SgourosUnattached4:12.281120

The Elite Girl's 5K was loaded with stars and Texas state champions. It happened to be two races in one. Brynn Brown was out to lower her meet record and she did exactly that. A US No. 8 all-time 15:56.89 5K effort was almost 30 seconds better than her previous meet record from two years ago.

Brown nearly cranked out one 1:20 400 meter lap after another. The going got tough in the middle to late laps as her self paced efforts were looking like they were taking its toll. When she started lapping competitors, it seemed to bring life back into her pacing. "I'm super stoked," Brown said. "There's nothing like grinding a 5K solo, it was tough out there, but I held on and I'm really proud of the effort."

There was more effort being displayed several meters back, including another solo effort. El Paso Franklin senior Eva Jess ran herself into a solo race when she also distanced from the rest of the field. The University of Texas recruit was a distance behind Brown, but still ahead of the rest to experience that grind Brown described. She too was able to crank out a TDF top performance; her 17:00.06 was the eighth fastest race all-time at TDF.

1Brynn BrownUnattached15:56.89122
2Eva JessUnattached17:00.06122
3Aubrey O'ConnellUnattached17:15.34112

Six other girls ran 17:30s and faster. After a long mid race battle with Frisco Reedy senior Colleen StegmannProsper junior Aubrey O'Connell pulled away to finish third overall going in 17:15.34. 

The Boy's Elite 5K saw an individual performance just as impressive as the girls race. This time it was the Cherry Creek (CO) product Parker Wolfe exhibition.

Wolfe got assistance with pacing duties from Coppell senior Evan Caswell as the two ran together through the first mile and more. Wolfe was up for that challenge and more as he pushed and pushed the pace until he was all alone. Dropping laps ranging from 68 to 71seconds the push for the 14:13.26 meet record looked realistic.

In the end, it was a US No. 17 all-time run at 14:04.48 for Wolfe. The effort was even more impressive learning that it was the first race of the season for Wolfe.

1Parker WolfeUnattached14:06.48124
2Gabe SimonsenUnattached14:35.88124
3Sam RichUnattached14:40.24114

Mustang (OK) junior Gabe Simonsen turned in a strong second half of the race for an impressive second-place performance of 14:35.88. Catawba Ridge (SC) senior Sam Rich also had an impressive third-place finish in 14:40.24. 

A total of 13 runners broke 15 minutes on the track including six Texans (Foster Wilfong - 5th (14:43.28), Walker St. John - 7th (14:46.97), Sergio Leon Cuartas - 8th (14:47.99), Tristan Galvan - 10th (14:49.07), Jacob Ricks - 12th (14:53.70), and Evan Caswell - 13th (14:56.12).