Vance Nilsson, High Schooler, Becomes First Under 35 Seconds In 300mH

Vance Nilsson, High Schooler, Becomes First Under 35 Seconds In 300mH

A high schooler from Arizona became the first under 35 seconds for the 300 meter hurdle discipline in history on Saturday.

May 12, 2024 by Cory Mull

History was made on Saturday in Mesa, Arizona, with Vance Nilsson, a senior from Gilbert High School, registering the first 300 meter hurdle time under 35 seconds in history by an American high schooler at the AIA Outdoor State Track and Field Championships. 

Nilsson, fresh off a career best time of 35.05 seconds the week before, crossed the finish line on the Mesa Community College track in 34.83 seconds. 

"For some reason, whenever I start warming up and I get called into the bullpen, my mind just focuses and my heart starts pumping and my legs start to feel blood," Nilsson. "I feel like this rush of energy. But I'm hyper-focused." 

That performance was a new high school national record and, according to available records, was the sixth-fastest time ever run for the distance ... by anyone. 

Since the 300mH is primarily an American event governed by the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS), very few international athletes compete at the distance. 

At the Olympic level and internationally, athletes primarily compete in the 400mH. 

But the world-record holder for the 400mH, Karsten Warholm, holds the unofficial world best at the 300mH in 33.26. Before Saturday, the fastest American to have run the distance was Reggie Wyatt, a former California prep who authored a time of 35.02 seconds in 2009. 

Other notable stars who have run the 300mH before? Robert Griffin (35.33), Bershawn Jackson (35.39), Kerron Clement (35.47). Marion Humphrey (35.52) and Thomas Burns (35.25). 

"I knew it was fast. I had not idea it would be 34.8, to be honest," Nilsson said. "I knew coming off the curve, I was like 'I'm moving.' My problem in the past race when I got really close to it. I stuttered hurdle two and three. I didn't do that this time. So, I knew I was on for something good. But I had to finish the race." 

The record stood for 15 years before Nilsson came along. 

But it only seemed to be heading that way. Nilsson opened his season by breaking his career best time on his 2024 debut in 37.41 seconds, then proceeded to dip under 36 seconds in April, clocking a time of 35.67 at the Westwood Hohokam Invite. 

Nilsson ran under 36 seconds a total of three times before Saturday. He know owns the first, third and 12th-best times in high school history at the distance.

For reference, Nilsson's year-over-year improvement at the distance is 2.99 seconds. The second-place runner on Saturday, Bellemy Amina-Harris, ran 37.72, which was a full 2.89 seconds behind Nilsson.

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