RARE TRIFECTA: Franklin Junior Caleb Prettyman Places in All Three Distance Races at State Track Meet
It was insane. Foolish. Running the 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter run, and 800-meter run at the state level and earning a medal in all three? Preposterous.
It’s a rare trifecta, certainly, but one Franklin junior Caleb Prettyman was eager to try.
(Pictured above, Franklin’s Caleb Prettyman poses with all three of his state track meet medals)
“I got a lot of feedback from people at districts and even at states. They were saying that I was crazy for trying to do all three,” Prettyman said. “They were saying there was no way I could medal in all three. Maybe one or two, but not all three.”
Prettyman, though, is accustomed to proving people wrong.
He did again.
Prettyman was sixth in the 1,600 on Friday in Shippensburg with a time of 4 minutes, 19.63 seconds — breaking his own school record. He returned to Seth Grove Stadium on Saturday morning to place fifth in the 3,200 with a time of 9:21.31, which shattered his own mark. Then he went out later in the day and placed eighth in the 800 at 1:57.61.
Three distance events. Three medals. Two records and nearly a third — he was less than a second off his own school-best time in the 800.
Not a bad weekend.
“It felt pretty awesome,” Prettyman said. “It meant so much. There was a lot of work put into that that nobody really saw, all winter and throughout the whole season. So it was pretty cool to go out there and have it pay off.”
Prettyman took a novel approach to his heavy Memorial Day Weekend workload at the state meet.
He compartmentalized each race in his mind. Blocked out the others. Focused only on the immediate task at hand.
“So, the way I approached it was to completely shut off the other races in my head,” he said. “I didn’t even think about them. So all Thursday night and Friday, I only thought about the 1,600. And then right after the 1,600, I only thought about the 3,200. Just one step at a time. I think that was definitely the way to go about it.”
Prettyman has had to develop a great deal of mental toughness over the years. He’s had to conquer a fair share of adversity already in his high school running career.
As a freshman, he suffered through intense pain in his right leg, which was later diagnosed as a stress fracture midway up his shin.
That sidelined him for six months.
When he returned, he was a shell of himself.
“It was a long process. I didn’t really start to put it together until last outdoor season,” Prettyman said. “I was out for six months and when I came back, it was just a slow process. I just wasn’t in great shape for quite some time. I dealt with it for a good bit of time. I thought it was a muscle problem. I kept trying to run and it kept coming back. It just set me back for a long time.
“I just tried to shut my brain off a little bit, the worry and the other stuff, and just go to physical therapy and get everything done that I needed to do.”
A poor cross-country season in the fall added to the swirling doubts in Prettyman’s head.
It was a discouraging campaign and left him at a crossroads.
“It was a bad season for me. I gained a lot of time throughout the season and it just was not good at all,” Prettyman said. “It was super disappointing. We got to winter and I just wanted to get after it. I didn’t want something like that to happen again. It was embarrassing and it was awful.”
Prettyman worked hard during indoor season and then finally felt right again midway through the outdoor campaign when he ran well at the Baldwin Invitational.
At the District 10 Track and Field Championships, he placed first in both the 800 and 1,600 and was second in the 3,200.
He decided to compete in all three at the state meet, despite warnings against it.
Turned out to be a good decision.
Prettyman, though, wasn’t completely satisfied.
“Some of the time goals that I set for this outdoor season, I feel like I didn’t quite get to,” he said. “But, I mean, I can’t really be too mad about the good placement that I had at states.”
Prettyman will compete this weekend in the mile at an event at Robert Morris University.
“It’s sponsored by The Pittsburgh Track Club,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool event and they have professional races and open races, high school races. I’m trying to break (4:15) because that will give me the standard for the New Balance nationals. I’m trying to run there.”
Then Prettyman will begin training for the cross country season, where he wants to redeem himself for his poor performance last year.
“I want to finish in the top three, top five at states,” he said.
Prettyman is also thinking beyond high school.
He wants to run at the collegiate level and has already begun the recruiting process.
Winning three state medals is certain to raise his profile.
“It’s a weird thing for me to think about because it’s like, ‘Man, that’s really here already?’” he said. “I need to get my times down and then go on some visits. I’ve reached out to some schools and some schools have reached out to me and want to get me out for some visits.”
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