State Meet Race Video Countdown: No. 2, Girls 800-Meter Run

Sadie Engelhardt needed a late sprint to unseat the champion in the 800-meter run while pulling off a double so rare it had only been done one other time since 1974.

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Ninth in a Series

Coming off a meet record and near-state record time in winning the 1600m earlier in the schedule, Ventura (SS) sophomore Sadie Engelhardt was in position to add to her historic day.

Engelhardt was second in the 800-meter run as a freshman behind J.W. North (SS) now-senior Mackenzie Browne, who came into the 2023 State final not only as the defending champion, but also the national leader. Browne ran the third-fastest 800m time in CA history with her 2:03.07 two-lap stunner at Arcadia.  The week before, she had held off Engelhardt to win at the Southern Section Masters State Meet qualifier. 

And through 400m in last Saturday's final, it was Browne with a 0.04 lead over St. Francis (CC) sophomore Sabrina Zanetto and 0.06 over Engelhardt.

At the bell, the top nine all ran opening laps between 65.47 and 65.89.

As the pack began to break up over the final 400, it was Browne on fresh legs maintaining her position as Engelhardt was running her fourth race in two days at the end of the May-long Southern Section gantlet that also saw her running some hard legs anchoring the long relay. 

Over the final straight in this 800m final, Engelhardt found a gear rarely seen, becoming a sprinter, blowing past Browne for a 2:07.22 finish.

Engelhardt split 65.53-61.70 to become just the second girl to pull off the 800-1600 sweep at the State Meet dating to when girls were first included at the State Meet in 1974. The only other CA high school girl to achieve the 8-16 double was Kathy Costello of Pleasant Hill (NC) in 1975.

Browne split 65.47-62.60 for second in 2:08.06. Poway (SD) junior Tessa Buswell, seventh at the bell, closed in 62.73 for third. JSerra (SS) junior Georgia Jeanneret split 65.65-64.20 for fourth in 2:09.84. 

While the insanely fast race at Arcadia produced PRs and season-bests for four of the girls in this field, three others capped their seasons with times to remember:

* Monte Vista (NC) senior Cate Peters split 66.02-64.02 for a sixth place in a season-best time of 2:10.03

* Menlo-Atherton (CC) junior Tatum Olesen split 65.89-64.37 for seventh place in a PR time of 2:10.25 (2:10.244)

* J.W. North senior Dominique Abbott split 65.69-64.57 for eighth place in PR time of 2:10.25 (2:10.247). 

Also noteworthy: Claremont (SS) junior L'Mio Edwards, last at the bell, closed in 63.79 to earn the ninth-place medal. That was the fourth-fastest second lap split behind only Engelhardt, Browne, and Buswell.

Watch the Race

Hear from Sadie

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Photos by DeAnna Turner, Raymond Tran, and Dan Tyree

Race Countdown voting by Ryan Blystone, Steve Brand, Albert Caruana, Mark Gardner, and Jeffrey Parenti