Katherine Lee has accomplished a lot in her six years on the Long Island high school track scene. Since being called up in seventh grade, she has set many records, won championships, and earned too many medals to mention. On Sunday, Lee aimed for another major achievement — and this one would cement her status as one of the best high school runners in the nation.
That goal came easily for the Shoreham-Wading River runner. Lee took third in the mile with a time of 4:46.61 on Sunday at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory in Manhattan. It earned her All-American status, a distinction given to the top six finishers.
“I feel that, in big races, sometimes it’s not as important to focus on time when there’s something like All-American on the line,” said Lee, who will run at Georgetown in the fall. “It can go either way depending on your mindset. But, for this one, I really wanted to make All-American.”
Katelynne Hart of Glen Ellyn, Illinois won in 4:45.47. Lee sat in fourth for most of the race, surging at the bell but not able to make up any ground. Then, in the final 70 meters, Lee was able to overtake third place and narrowly missed sneaking into second. Victoria Starcher of Ripley, West Virginia took second in 4:46.32.
“I just wanted to hang onto the top pack,” Lee said. “I thought, in that case, my kick would let me hang on to the spot I was in.”
Long Island added another All-American when Northport’s Isaiah Claiborne took fourth in the boys mile in 4:10.96. Dustin Horter of Liberty Township, Ohio won in 4:08.03.
After a physical battle that saw Claiborne bumped towards the back of the pack, he hung close enough to the middle and surged his way into fourth on the final lap.
“There was tons of competition in that race, all similar times, so of course there’s going to be pushing around,” Claiborne, who ran on two All-American relays this weekend, said. “I don’t let it get to me. I’d do the same thing. I just tried to get my stride back and finish hard.”
Syosset’s Reilly Siebert placed sixth in 10:34.7 in the girls two mile, earning All-American status. North Rockland’s Katelyn Tuohy won in 9:58.89.