Kaden Eaton came into Friday night’s Miracle Mile at the Franklin Central Distance Showcase with the 12th-fastest personal-best time.
The Columbus North senior broke that personal-best by three seconds and finished sixth in the 52-person field in 4 minutes, 19.37 seconds. Lawrence North’s Joe Murphy won in 4:14.69.
Eaton kept the lead in second and third laps, but Murphy breezed past him during the final 300 meters.
“I wanted to take every opportunity possible for a lead,” Eaton said. “I had Laps 2 and 3 in control, and I knew I had to keep a solid pace to stay ahead, but I’m still proud of my finish.”
Eaton said the atmosphere of the meet got him ready to race.
“This is such an awesome environment,” Eaton said. “To have the competitors and fans on the track cheering you on just adds adrenaline to the experience.”
Mackenzie Caldwell is all too familiar with the Franklin Central Showcase and what it has to offer. It also shows how much she wants to improve before state.
Caldwell finished ninth in the girls Miracle Mile in 5:03.46. Carmel’s Haley Harris took top honors in 4:58.72.
“I always like to come to this meet,” Caldwell said. “It’s so fun, and there are a lot of great girls to compete with.”
Caldwell struggled to get an early lead on the pack, after being caught in a group while Harris broke away from the field.
“I had some bumps early on, and got stuck in a pack the first half of the race,” Caldwell said. “Once I got through, it was tough to get to the front because the leader was so far ahead.”
For Caldwell, the Showcase showed what she needs to fix.
“This meet shows exactly what I need to do to improve before state competition,” Caldwell said. “I’m happy with my effort today, but there is still work to be done.”
North assistant and distance coach Rick Weinheimer praised Caldwell’s efforts to gain ground in the final lap.
“I felt she did a wonderful job,” Weinheimer said. “She got put in a tough field, and to face some of the top competitors in the state opened her eyes on what’s to come the rest of the season.”
Bull Dogs sophomore Sierra Lax finished 17th in the girls Miracle Mile, winning the second of three heats in 5:11.08.
“Last year, I was up in the stands as a spectator wondering how cool it would be to be a part of something like this,” Lax said. “I’m so glad I got the opportunity to do this, and I’m glad I had a great run in front of so many people.
“I knew I had a little left in the tank to pull through in my heat,” she said. “It was a tough final 200, but I was happy to get through and get a decent time.”
Bull Dogs freshman Elijah Brooks participated in the Boys Freshman Mile, placing 25th out of 49 competitors in 4:49.50. Bailey McIntire of South Adams took the top spot at 4:32.44.
Brooks was sitting in fourth place in the final 200 meters before bolting to the front to take the top position in the heat. He said the excitement of the meet gave him a lot of hope to return next year.
“This was an incredible environment to be in,” Brooks said. “There was a lot of excitement and everyone was real supportive.
“This gets me ready for the rest of my high school career, because these are the guys I’ll be competing with for four years,” he said. “I had a great start in the race, but wasn’t able to follow it up as well as I’d hoped. This meet showed what I need to work on to be one of the top runners.”
Weinheimer said Brooks’ performance is a sign of things to come.
“For him to step up like he did in a tough environment and perform well was fantastic,” Weinheimer said. “He made some little mistakes, but that will come for someone his age. He has a lot of time to get those kinks worked out and move forward.”