4×800 teams blaze records at nationals


Photo courtesy of wjtrackandfield Instagram

(From left) Megan Raue, Mackenzie Raue, Carolyn Hultman, and Zuzana Huserova strike a pose stop the podium at the 2023 Nike Indoor Nationals. The girls not only finished top five, but set a new personal and school record in the 4×800 and were also dubbed, All-Americans.

Both the boys and girls 4×800 teams are taking their victory lap as both squads finished top 5 nationally among many competitive school and club teams. On the weekend of March 12, the Cats took weeks of intense training, regular season competition experience, and a chip on their shoulders to the indoor track in the heart of New York. Nike Indoor Nationals is an annual event that pulls talent from all over the country, in efforts to showcase their athletic ability on a grand stage. Qualifying times are much lower than a local or state competition, meaning you truly have to bring your A-Game. With the pressure on throughout the seasons, both 4×800 teams became diamonds and set the track a blaze! Hitting a personal record time of 9:23.65, the girls 4×800 team finished 5th overall and smashed the previous school record by 13 seconds. Sporting distinct pink tops, the boys 4×800 team also finished 5th overall, with a season personal record of 8:12.74. As if it weren’t impressive enough, the boys’ success continued the next weekend winning the Adidas Nationals with another PR of 8:09.67.

(From left) Calix McCormick, Liad Simhony, Kendall Murphy, and Koki Takizawa, stand triumphantly with a top five finish at 2023 Nike Indoor Nationals. The boys also set a new personal relay record. (Photo courtesy wjtrackandfield Instagram)

Perhaps the story inside the story is the chemistry these two squads have. Training everyday together, having classes together and representing WJ give these teams a competitive edge that is unmatched. The only thing that could make them closer, is if they lived together, which ironically is the case with the Raue sisters, who make up half of the girls 4×800 relay.

“It’s super helpful to have her always there to encourage and motivate me to run at my best in both the relay and practice,” Megan Raue said.

Though they may not always be the direct handoff to each other, including during the nationals race, the chemistry is still there.

“It was a 13 second PR (personal record) off our previous time, showing what we are able to accomplish, we all put in the work to each run a really great individual leg,” Mackenzie Raue said.

The icing on the cake for both teams is that a large majority of the relay is returning next year, in exception to one senior Koki Takizawa.

“This win means a lot to me because it was my last indoor track race and our hard work finally paid off,” Takizawa said.

Though bitter sweet, he believes the relay will be left in good hands and expects them to aim for the school record next year.

As indoor season comes to an end, the Cats look to carry momentum and success into the outdoor track season and prove once again, they belong at the top of the podium.