Indoor Track: Pioneer relay team breaks U.S. record at New Balance Nationals in NYC

  • By Terry Jacoby/

After breaking records at indoor meets in Ohio and Michigan in February, Pioneer’s team of Sarah Forsyth, Emily Cooper, Cookie Baugh, and Rachel Forsyth headed to one of the biggest and most prestigious indoor meets on the circuit in March.

Bigger stage, bigger record(s) as the four local runners set TWO records at the New Balance Nationals Indoor High School meet in New York City during the weekend of March 11-13.

The runners went 11 minutes, 32.68 seconds to win the distance medley relay (DMR) and set a new national record in the process. The group led from start to finish and crossed the finish line with a gold medal and a new high school record in the event.

The next day the group took third in the 4×1200 relay and were “disappointed” in the result. So the next day they returned to the winner’s circle and the record book when they went 8:51.93 to win the 4×800 relay and shatter a 20-year-old record in the event.

Pioneer’s Gabi Newman also participated in the meet. The senior finished second in the high jump with an indoor personal-best leap of 5 feet, 7.5 inches.

Last month, the Pioneer relay runners improved their time in the 4×800 relay to 8 minutes, 59.20 at the Saginaw Valley State University Distance Festival, part of the Michigan Indoor Track and Field Series.

However, that was after they shattered the National HS record in the Distance Medley Relay. They ran 11:21.95, beating the old record of 11:34.50 by 13 seconds set in 2017 by a team from Burke, Va.

The Michigan HS record was 11:35.98 set in 2013 by a team from Grosse Pointe South.

The team is known as the Purple Track Club and they destroyed the national high school girls distance medley relay record with their 11:21.95. However, this race took place on a 300-meter flat track, making the record void. Indoor records must be achieved on 200m tracks.

On Feb. 6, Pioneer’s 4×800 relay team set a Michigan High School record with a time of 9 minutes, 0.02 seconds  at the Spire Scholastic Showcase meet in Geneva, Ohio. The previous record was 9:03.74 set by the team from Grosse Point South in 2012.

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