Flashback Friday: Oakley & Gregory Battle Over 3200

It's been three years since the showdown of the decade, and in some ways it feels like more time has passed...

Let's Flashback to the 2017 Colorado State Track & Field Championships, where two of Colorado's best 3,200 runners toed the line in the same race. 

Bri Oakley and Lauren Gregory were bound to put up an incredible eight-lap battle. (Oakley would go on to make it a seven-lap battle.)

What was at stake was more than a 3,200 title - there was Elise Cranny's state record of 10:17.48, as well a team title.

Earlier in the season Oakley threatened the mark with a 10:23 performance at the Centennial League Championships, while Gregory had run 10:30 at the Front Range League Meet. 

Oakley and Gregory hadn't raced over the 3,200 distance all season, but they had clearly run stellar solo runs. Like fire, perhaps all they needed to break the record was to ignite on the track at the same time. 

What went down was seven incredible laps, and one furious finish. 

Oakley torched the final lap to not only run away from Gregory, but also demolish Cranny's state record. The Grandview senior dropped one of the most impressive state records in Colorado history, running 10:09.26. 

(Oakley's final lap was reflective of the team race - Grandview telescoped away to claim the team title over Fort Collins.)

Without an altitude conversion the time was No. 9 in the country that year. (Oakley had already broken 10 minutes earlier in the season at lower elevations at Arcadia - she ran 9:57, a US No. 2.)

Gregory did hold on for an incredible result of her own - the Fort Collins senior dipped under Cranny's state record as well, running 10:16.43

One race. Two break the record.

To add perspective on how incredible Oakley's record run was, consider that Gregory's 10:16 (seven seconds back) is the closest anyone has come, ever. Only four girls have broken 10:30 - Oakley, Gregory, Cranny, and Katie Rainsberger. And only six have come within half a minute of the time.