To those who follow track and field or fully understand running times, their jaws are likely still on the ground over this performance.
To those who don’t follow running, well, it’s pretty hard to compare it to any other athletic feats.
On Saturday in Portland, Oregon, 18-year-old high school runner Hobbs Kessler took the track for a 1,500-meter race already holding a national record after setting a new record in the indoor mile race back in February.
A senior from Ann Arbor Skyline High School in Michigan who runs for his high school track team, in Portland, Kessler stunned observers at the track and around the country who follow running — in a great way.
Kessler produced one of the greatest runs ever by an American high schooler, finishing in a blistering time of 3:34.36 to shatter the U.S. record in the event by a high school runner, previously set in 2001 by Alan Webb when he ran the race in a time of 3:38.26.
Oh, but there’s more.
Kessler also broke the U.S. under-20 record in the event set by Jim Ryun (3:36.1) in 1966, and his run also was faster than the collegiate record of 3:35.00 set by Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame earlier this year.
Kessler’s run also was the third-best by ANY American in 2021, with only 2019 World Championship finalist Craig Engels and Henry Wynne (3:34.08) running faster times.
I don't even know what to say.— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) May 30, 2021
Hobbs Kessler just laid down one of the greatest performances in history by an American high schooler.
DESTROYS the high school 1500 record with a 3:34.36 at the Portland Track Festival.
Faster than the NCAA record (3:34.68). pic.twitter.com/c0UKhDHyFk
Nick Willis, an Olympic silver medalist in 2008 and a bronze medalist in 2016, has trained with Kessler, and even he was in awe.
“I became a spectator to the greatest performance ever by a high school miler,” Willis told letsrun.com.
With such an eye-popping performance, it’s fair to wonder if Kessler will qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team.
His performance met an Olympic qualifying standard and at the very least earned him the chance to qualify for the U.S. team at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in a few weeks.
But before focusing on that, Kessler will have quite a contradiction of competition.
He’ll go from competing with world-class runners in Portland to competing against fellow high schoolers at the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s state meet on Saturday in East Kentwood.
Kessler has the state’s best times in the one-mile and two-mile races this year, and after what he achieved in Portland, get ready for a plethora of attention on him as he finishes his high school career.