Since Roger Bannister made history way back in 1954, approximately 1,500 men have broken the four-minute mile barrier—a mere fraction of humanity. Crayton Carrozza, a 20-year old freshman track and cross-country standout at The University of Texas joined that super-elite club last week.
Carrozza had already demonstrated tremendous talent when he ran for St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, helping his track team to capture the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) Championship in 2017, and as a senior in 2019, he dazzled with a 3:46 1,500.
Now as a Longhorn, he’s coming into his own. Under the watchful eye of Texas Track and Field men’s distance coach Pete Watson, Carrozza and his teammates have been getting in some high-quality diverse training, including tempo runs and hard, fast intervals.
“Crayton is a great racer,” said his dad Paul, a former Abilene Christian middle-distance great, and current track and cross-country coach at St. Stephen’s. “He’s patient, moves up well, and closes fast. We have never focused on times, but always celebrate when the times are good. We are very proud of him and are excited that he is at The University of Texas—no better place to be. They are taking great care of him.”
Last week, running on a 200-meter indoor banked track at the John Thomas Terrier Classic Track Meet at Boston University, Carrozza showed he’s one of the top young runners in the country with a terrific one-mile race.
At the start of the race, Carrozza let his mind go blank, and just focused on the moment. “It probably sounds weird, but I tried not to think about it as I didn’t want to stress myself out over the time mark,” he said. “I feel like putting too much focus on a time causes you to overthink and get stressed out. I went into the race relaxed with as little pressure as possible.”
Running in a field of about 200, including teammates Brendan Hebert and Sam Worley, Carrozza went through the first 800 at 1:59, right on target.
“I don’t know the exact splits of each lap, but I know my last 400 was 57 seconds,” he said. “It was my first time running on an indoor track and it was weird turning so many times. At the start, I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and just follow the line of people in front of me. I try not to have a specific plan going into a race because every race is different, so you never know how it’s going to play out. If you focus too much on a plan and it doesn’t go that way, then it makes the race stressful. With 800 to go I went through at 1:59 and I knew I had to start moving if I wanted to break it (4-minutes).”
Carrozza took nothing for granted, and knew he had to finish strong to go under four minutes. “I noticed the clock when I went through 1200 and it was at 3:02 and I started really running hard and having to pass a good amount of people,” he said.
Carrozza flew across the finish line in 3:59.82, coming in fourth behind Craig Engels (3:56.842), Andrew Coscoran 3:56.849, and Colin Abert (3:59.70).
“It was pure joy and excitement as I saw the clock when I ran through the line and knew I had it,” said Carrozza. “When I saw the board, I was so happy, and I got congratulated by Craig Engels and that made the whole experience that much better.
“It was far from a perfect race as there were a lot of tactical mistakes I made, like passing on the outside of a turn and getting slowed up and cut off by people,” he added. “I’m just gonna stay focused and keep trying to do my best at these upcoming meets.”
Upcoming Races: Saturday, February 8, at 8:00 a.m., Cupid’s Chase 5K at San Gabriel Park in Georgetown. Saturday, February 8, at 9:00 a.m. the Idea 5K at Travis County Expo Center, 7311 Decker Lane, Austin.