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There will be a race within a race on Friday in the championship heat of the girls 3,200 meter run at the Running Lane Track Championships.
Among three of Florida's best ever at the distance will finally race head-to-head at the distance: Winter Springs junior Caroline Wells, as well as the Cambridge Christian junior duo of Caroline Lehman and Mary Ellen Eudaly.
This year has seen all three run historic record-breaking times this spring -- Wells even currently owns the Florida state record. Their matchup will begin on Friday at 9:15 PM (CT) from James Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama.
Wells, the FHSAA Class 3A state cross country champion and the 1,600m and 3,200m distance winner at the FHSAA Outdoor Championships, broke the Florida state record in the 3,200m early in the outdoor season with a 10:10.39 performance at the Lake Mary Invitational, besting the former all-time record of 10:10.45 by East Lake's Parker Valby in 2019 by only mere fractions of a second.
She once again clocked another 10:10 performance, which was just a few tenths of a second slower -- in windy conditions -- a few weeks later at the Set Goals Not Limits Showcase hosted at Satellite High School.
She went undefeated for the entire FHSAA season in all of her races at 800 meters or up, including a heroic come from behind anchor leg performance to give her squad the title in the 4x800 meter relay at the FHSAA 3A State Finals before winning the 1,600 and 3,200 as well individually.
Wells then traveled up to Boston to race against some of the nation's top-tier girls in a unique road mile race at the adidas Boost Games, which she netted a runner-up finish of 4:46 thru the streets of Boston.
Wells had already dropped her 1,600 meter personal best time all the way down to 4:44 in an impressive solo effort at her regional meet.
Meanwhile, Lehman and Eudaly have had plenty of competition from one another in all their races this year to push each other to fast times.
Lehman had an exceptional indoor campaign traveling up to the new Virginia Beach indoor facility numerous times including a Florida indoor state two-mile record of 10:20 as well as winning the adidas Indoor Nationals 5K title in a 16:53 PR.
Eudaly really turned it on early on and midway through the outdoor season, including a 10:17 3200 PR at the Dash for Doobie event in North Carolina in March. There, she chased behind RunningLane XC Champion Jenna Hutchins of Tennessee.
Outdoors, she and Lehman were side-by-side in virtually all of their 1,600 meter races that saw them break 4:50 together. Eudaly's best was a state-leading 4:44.80 performance at their district meet.
At the FHSAA Class 1A Championships, Eudaly went onto win the 1,600m title, while Lehman took care of business in the 3, 200m.
Then, just two weekends ago at the Golden South Series #3 at Lake Region High School -- on a warm night with temperatures still well into the 80-degree range with an 8:35 PM start time -- Lehman and Eudaly chased after Betty Jo Springs' 42-year-old state record of 10:17.3 for the full two miles with the assistance of the Florida boys 3,200m state record holder Rheinhardt Harrison as their pacer.
Eudaly fell off the pace in the final mile, but Lehman was able to stay on it and hold on to run a final time of 10:14.86 to take down the long-standing full two miles state record and just missed breaking Wells' 3,200m state record en route as she was timed at 10:13.9 for her split.
We desired this matchup all season long: Who is the top Florida girl all-time at 3,200 meters? It seemed like was never going to happen between Wells and the Cambridge Christian, but on Friday we are finally going to see, albeit out-of-state in Alabama at the Running Lane Championships.
The irony is, regardless of the outcome, that the two-mile state record by Lehman from Golden South will still stand since they are only racing 3,200 meters at Running Lane.
But either way, expect the 10:10 barrier to broken by at least by one of of them, if not all three. The race to see who finishes out as the state record holder is far from over; and better yet, the trio of distance running greats will all be back for their 2022 senior year season.
Make sure to tune in at approximately 9:15 PM CT (so 10:15 PM ET for most in Florida) on Friday for our live stream on MileSplit as well as all other stacked races and fields to be contested over the two evenings.
Eudaly and Lehman will double back though with 24 hours rest to run in the fast section girls mile run on Saturday as well with a chance to move further up the state all-time list than they are currently positioned.
There are 10 girls entered in the mile with times of 4:50 or faster for an extremely competitive and deep field, while Audrey Dadamio from Michigan leads the girls 3,200m field with a 9:51 best and the Florida girls make up three of the top five seeds in the race.