It’s been a magical March for North Shore’s Diana Vizza. Over its first weekend, she won the state high school championship in the 1,500 meters. Friday, she set the state record in the indoor 5,000 meters.
Vizza, who is making it increasing difficult to rank her many senior-year highlights, ran the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 42.84 seconds on the first day of New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in Manhattan, breaking North Shore alum Brianna Nerud’s 2012 mark of 16:43.56, coach Neal Levy said.
“That was a really ambitious goal for me today. I’m really happy I made it,” Vizza said. “I knew [the record] could definitely happen. I knew my fitness was there . . . I knew not to panic and go out too fast and run a smart, tough race to the end.”
Vizza finished seventh overall in the race, just outside the threshold for All-American status. Weini Kelati, a 19-year-old native of Eritrea now living in Virginia, won in 16:08.33, a national record.
Kelati went out in a flash, pushing the pace toward 7:50 at the halfway point, a number that Armory public address announcer Ian Brooks called ‘astonishingly fast.’
“My coach [Levy] warned me before the race that there were people who were going to go out really fast,” Vizza said.
Vizza, who aimed for 40 second laps around the 200-meter track, sat a long way back of the lead for the majority of the race, running with the bottom three until she kicked her way toward seventh place in the final 1,000 meters.
“I just had to keep thinking ‘I’m on 16:40 pace. I’m going to catch them,’ ” she said. “I knew there were on lot of girls in that race that weren’t going to stay on that pace. If I took it out too hard, it would make it a lot harder at the end. I had to keep my cool.”
Vizza’s magic March isn’t over, either. She is scheduled to run the national two-mile race on Sunday.