Athing Mu is a prodigy. Even her elite opponents in the women’s 600-meter final at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships at the Ocean Breeze Facility in Staten Island were stunned by her performance. Mu, a lithe 16-year-old junior attending Trenton Central High School in New Jersey, left some agape when they surveyed the clock at the conclusion of the race to see Mu had crossed the tape in 1:27:57.
“At first when I was taking a picture next to the timing, I thought it was just another high school record,” Mu said in a post race interview. “I looked back and it said ‘AR’ [American Record]… I was just like oh my gosh, it’s crazy. It literally brought me to tears.”
The time established four new significant marks as Mu now owns the 600-meter high school national record, American Record, U18 record and World Junior record. Running the second fastest 600 ever, she was only 0.14 seconds off setting the discipline’s world record. Raevyn Rogers was second in 1:24:88 and Olivia Baker third in 1:26:93.
Mu stands in the top five on the all-time high school list in four events. She is No. 5 in 400 (52:55), No. 2 in the 600, No. 4 in the 800 (2:03:98) and No. 3 in the 1000 (2:44:43). Mu has placed herself with fellow New Jersey native Sydney McLaughlin, who is now running professionally at 19 years old after a year at the University of Kentucky, and Sammy Watson from Henrietta, N.Y., who at 19 now runs for Texas A & M, as among the best prep middle distance runners ever.
As a member of the Trenton Track Club, Mu is familiar with New York City venues, having run numerous times at The Armory in Washington Heights. She will be back there for the 2019 New Balance Nationals Indoor featuring the country’s best high school track and field athletes taking place March 8 through March 10.