In honor of Girls Sports Month, USA TODAY High School Sports is releasing the ALL-USA Preseason Girls Track and Field Team for the 2018-19 season as selected by Fred Baer, the founder of Track and Field Writers of America, and Mike Kennedy, the high school editor for Track & Field News.
What can returning ALL-USA girls track and field athlete of the year Katelyn Tuohy do for an encore in 2019 following one of the greatest seasons of high school distance running as a sophomore?
Expectation are high since the North Rockland (Thiells, N.Y.) junior has already set a national high school indoor record at 3,000 meters this winter, running 9:01.81 on Jan. 26 at the Dr Sander Invitational to smash the mark of 9:04.51 set by All-USA TODAY star Mary Cain of Bronxsville (N.Y.) in 2013.
In March Tuohy won the New Balance Indoor Nationals two mile in 9:51.05, No. 2 on the all-time performance list to Cain’s record of 9:38.68 in 2013.
As a sophomore, Tuohy set the high school mile record of 4:33.87 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in June. That bettered the oldest girls track and field record, 4:35.24 by Polly Plumer of University (Irvine, Calif.) in 1982. Tuohy had previously wiped out the 22-year-old mark for 3,200 meters (9:48.59 by Kim Mortensen, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), running 9:47.88 at the Loucks Games in May.
She ranks high on the all-time lists for every outdoor race from 1,500 meters through two miles. In December, Tuohy successfully defended her Nike NXN cross country national title in Portland (Ore.) – bettering her own course record.
A pole vaulter is off to the fastest start in girls field events this season. Chloe Cunliffe, a senior at West Seattle (Seattle, Wash.) has set all-time high school records, both indoors (14-9) and outdoors (14-8) – all within less than a month’s time.
Those are also the best marks, indoors and outdoors, by an American teenager. The latter performance came Saturday (April 6) at the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational.
Lexi Weeks of Cabot (Ark.) set the former high school best of 14-7 1/2 (outdoors) in 2015 — after her sister Tori had established the indoor record of 14-4 the same season.
Cunliffe has declared to attend Washington State next year. She achieved her 14-9 indoor clearance on St. Patrick’s Day in a meet at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.
There should be an emphasis on speed again in 2019. Three All-USA first team sprinters return: Tamari Davis of Gainesville (Fla.), Brianna Williams of Northeast (Oakland Park, Fla.), and Arria Minor of East (Denver) – joining rising freshman star, Kayla Davis of Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.).