Alums Shatter U.S. Records
CARDINAL PAST AND FUTURE thrust Stanford atop American running with a series of record-breaking indoor track and field performances this weekend.
Former Stanford teammates Elise Cranny '18 and Grant Fisher '19 shattered American records in the 5,000 meters, Ella Donaghu '20 led off the world's fastest women's distance medley relay ever, and Roisin Willis, a freshman at Stanford next year, broke the national girls' high school 800 record.
Cranny, Fisher, and Willis accomplished their feats at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational on the 200-meter banked track at Boston University's Track and Tennis Center.
On Friday, Cranny ran 14:33.17, breaking Shalane Flanagan's 14:47.52 from 2009. Cranny dueled Canada's Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who won in a North American record 14:31.38. The performance was an eight-second improvement for Cranny over the Olympian's outdoor personal best (14:42.02).
Cranny ran a blazing 8:32.43 over the final 3,000, including 4:27.81 over the last 1,600. Her overall time makes her the No. 5 performer in the world all-time indoors and she had the seventh-fastest indoor performance in history.
Fisher ran 12:53.73 on Saturday on the same track, breaking the U.S. record held by Galen Rupp (13:01.26) from 2014.
Fisher, fifth in the 10,000 and ninth in the 5,000 at the Tokyo Olympics, far eclipsed his personal best of 13:02.53 from the 2021 outdoor season. It also is the fastest time in the world this year and is No. 2 on the U.S. absolute list behind only Bernard Lagat's 12:53.60 from 2011. It's also No. 4 on the all-time world indoor list.
Fisher closed strongly in Boston. His last four 400 splits were 1:00.00, 58.95, 59.91, and 58.74, good for a 3:57.56 final 1,600.
Also at the Hemery meet, Roisin Willis, a Stanford freshman next year, broke the national high school girls' 800 record, running 2:00.06. Racing against pros in the fastest section of the distance, Willis ran the fastest time by an American of any age this year and is No. 2 in the world.
Willis, a 17-year-old senior at Stevens Point (Wis.) High, is No. 5 on the all-time U.S. under-20 performers' list and broke the high school indoor record of 2:01.78 by Sammy Watson of Henrietta, N.Y., in 2017. Willis ran 400 splits of 58.20 and 1:01.46.
At the new Podium facility in Spokane, Washington, for the Lilac Grand Prix on Friday, Donaghu joined her Nike Union Athletics Club teammates to run the world's fastest indoor distance medley relay. Donaghu led off with a 1,200 split of 3:16.02 before giving way to teammates Raevyn Rogers, Sinclaire Johnson, and Shannon Osika for a time of 10:39.91.
Because the event isn't often run at the international level, the time is regarded as a 'world best,' rather than a 'world record,' by World Athletics, the sport's governing body. Still, the team broke the world mark of 10:40.31 by the U.S. national team in 2017.
Willis displaced Olivia Baker '18 as the 2022 national leader in the women's 800, but Baker still is No. 2 on the American season list. Following up her personal best 2:00.33 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Jan. 6, Baker won the American Track League race in Louisville on Saturday in 2:00.69.
Finally, on Saturday, Jessica Tonn McClain '14 won the Mesa (Ariz.) Marathon in her debut at that distance. McClain was clocked in 2:33:34 and finished ninth overall.
Of course, all this follows Sara Bei Hall's American half-marathon record of 1:07.15 in Houston on Jan. 16, breaking the mark of 1:07.25 by Molly Huddle 2018.