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Mason Strader, junior in manufacturing management and distance runner, inside of the Plaster Center on Monday, Feb. 28. Strader completed a sub-four-minute mile, the first in school history, at the MIAA Conference Championship. Dominic Santiago

Strader runs first sub-four-minute-mile in school history

Mason Strader, junior in manufacturing management and distance runner, inside of the Plaster Center on Monday, Feb. 28. Strader completed a sub-four-minute mile, the first in school history, at the MIAA Conference Championship. Dominic Santiago

Mason Strader, junior distance runner, has completed the first one-mile run in under four minutes. This record was broken during the University of Arkansas Qualifier on Feb. 18. With a time of 3:58:47, Strader currently has the second-fastest time in the NCAA Division II.

“I always thought breaking four for the first time would be like 3:59:99 but to be almost two seconds under four minutes I was pretty shocked,” said Mason Strader, junior distance runner.

Strader talked about how his training and practicing haven’t changed and adjusted during the season.

“We didn’t change anything. The workouts stayed the same throughout the season, we just practiced harder. We try to keep improving every single year,” Strader said. “My best mark as a freshman was 4:10:00 which is statistically, 12 seconds but that doesn’t show how much I’ve improved. as far as loving the score and becoming a real student of the sport and continually competing at a high level I’ve come a long way.”

His performance in the Arkansas Qualifier came after hours of practice and training. Mason Strader wanted to thank the people at PSU who had a big impact on his time as an athlete.

“I can thank my coaches and teammates for that. I’ve had incredible coaches here at Pitt State. Coach Jewett is a legend and then Ben Barrows stepped into that spot and has been an incredible coach.” Strader said.

Strader began his distance running journey in middle school. While his focus was on football and baseball, the skills he learned from all three have made him a better player.

“I started running in middle school track, so I didn’t run cross country. I actually played football and did basketball and track. For me track was a two-month sport. I just did it in the spring and didn’t try.” Strader said.

His success at Holton High School brought him to Pittsburg State University. Strader achieved three Kansas Class 4A All-State performer awards.

“My coaches and teammates helped me through the hard times, and I’ve really learned to love the sport. This has been a great opportunity to be part of this program. It felt good to beat a record because the seconds are getting hard to come by compared to back then. Any improvement is a reward,” Strader said.

The PSU Indoor Track and a Field team competed at the MIAA Conference Championships on Feb. 27. The Gorillas clinched the Conference Championship title for the sixth time in nine years.

“We just finished the conference championship and in two weeks we will travel to the national championship. At this point, time does not matter, placement does. It’ll be about competing against the best in Division II,” Strader said.

Strader will be competing with 20 other Pittsburg State University Track and Field players on March 11 and 12. 13 men and eight women qualified for the national championships.

“It’s very exciting. I will be trying to defend the medley relay after winning that last fall with the relay team,” Strader said.

The Pitt State Men’s Indoor Track and Field team is currently ranked #1 in the NCAA Division II. They will compete against the best teams in the country during the 2022 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Plaster Center in Pittsburg.

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