Sonja Friend-Uhl sets American record in 1,500 meters for 50-plus

Former Cape/William & Mary star runs 4:41.21
March 30, 2021

A Friend in speed - Sonja Friend-Uhl is a 50-year-old masters runner I’ve known since she was a 15-year-old student-athlete at Cape who could also sing. A track star in high school for the 800 meters, she went on to excel at William & Mary. On March 27, running the 1,500 meters at the University of Miami, Sonja set a pending American record for women aged 50+ with a time of 4:41.21, which is the equivalent of a 5:01 mile. “It’s the best I’ve felt racing since 2017,” Sonja posted on her Facebook page. She added, “In full transparency, the heat index was 90° on the track, the wind was gusting strong enough that officials kept changing the direction of the 100-meter races, and it was one of those days where, for a number of reasons, I was feeling defeated before I even got to the meet. It takes more courage for me every season to race in a collegiate meet. Many of the women I toed the start line with yesterday had already run under 5 minutes for the mile during indoor and a few were 2:08 to 2:12 800-meter runners as well. I don’t know how it all came together, but I am so very grateful it did! I finally felt like I did years ago, when going out with the leaders in an open race felt good! I remembered I could fly for just under 5 minutes and it was a high I’m still coming down from! This performance reminded me to not put limits on myself ... I had all but given up on ever racing times that fast again, especially considering the osteoarthritis in my knees. But I also won’t make predictions for the future as I have learned nothing is guaranteed. The joy of this accomplishment is what it is and I am THANKFUL for it!”

Test optional - Choosing “test optional” and not submitting your SAT score on the college application process is like pleading the Fifth Amendment on the witness stand. The evidence might incriminate you; otherwise, you’d have that score tattooed on your forehead. But the test has a history of cultural bias, and I’m not just talking race. The reading comprehension stories were so lame I once pounded my desk and walked out of an SAT because I had no desire to relate to the privileged caste system, and its foibles and forays into banking and business. Back in 1979, I took three Afro American Cape athletes to Delaware Tech to take a test called the Culture Fair SAT. Dr. Wes Stack, an educational psychologist, knew of the Culture Fair; it was in his wheelhouse. Each student boosted his verbal score by 250 points. Language is loaded with biases. “Talk right” and so-called proper English has lost much of its importance; nonetheless, the SAT with all its biases is an accurate predictor of future college successes, and many of the people in the admissions office just can’t get let that go.

Snippets - UMBC starting pitcher Luke Johnson allowed three hits over 5 and 2/3 innings as the Retrievers defeated the Black Bears of Maine 7-1 on March 28. Johnson blasted a ninth-inning pinch-hit home run in a loss to Maine the day before. “Postponed” is a word I look for when checking upcoming sports schedules from colleges down through high schools, and if you see several games in a row postponed, you suspect that pesky mutating coronavirus, which can sink a season like an 8-ball in the corner pocket. And that is why March Madness is condensed and played in a bubble. The NCAA is trying to get it over with so they can crown a champion and retire those annoying Capital One commercials. Former St. Joe’s University basketball coach Phil Martelli is an assistant at Michigan and sits on the Wolverines’ bench next to head coach Jawon Howard. Local Gene Harris used to sit on the bench as an assistant at St. Joe’s next to Phil Martilli. Harris is Kenny Riedel’s grandfather. Kenny covers boys’ basketball for the Cape Gazette and is an avid Villanova fan. He and his grandfather Gene go to games together. I am just trying to watch the NCAA basketball tournament. I am not shopping for auto and home insurance, but the full-court press is on for our money, and you can run all the Subway commercials with celebrities you want. The face of the franchise will always be Jared. Go on now, git!    

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