A 60-year old record set by Morton High graduate and legendary North Central cross country coach Al Carius could be history.


Carius ran an impressive 4 minute, 16.80-second mile in 1960 at a county meet in Morton and went on to win the state title that year in a one-class system.


Flash forward to the COVID-19 spring of 2020, where the IHSA has canceled spring sports championships amid schools being closed for the remainder of the year and a stay-at-home order that’s pushed to the end of May in Illinois.


That didn’t stop Sam Lange.


The oldest record on the books could be coming down, after the Morton senior posted a 4:13.83 in the 1600 doing time trials May 7 at the Morton High track.


Big doings around the Oval at Carper Field last night. One legend pointing at the name of another. Find my FB post for a summary. pic.twitter.com/d3qfZckQUL

— Brian Gordon (@CTEBrian) May 8, 2020

The race was filmed and an app used to clock the time.


Running by himself, Lange first posted a 4:17 trial before getting the 4:13 on his next attempt.


“That was one of my big goals for the track season, if it was going to be canceled or if it wasn’t going to be canceled,” Lange said. “That was the bigger goal of my two, so I was happy I was able to achieve that, even though all this happened.”


The other goal was to be an all-stater (state medalists) in both the 1600- and 3200-meter races.


The time is not IHSA official, given it was not recorded at an IHSA event with a certified official present. But it may be official enough for a school record.


“It wasn’t in an official competition,” said Morton girls track and field head coach Joe Zeller, also the distance coach for both boys and girls. “The way I look at it, though, is my goal here is to do what is best for the athletes and given the circumstances of this season I felt like it would be unfair to take that opportunity away from him. The only person who is being negatively impacted here would be Al Carius, but I’m pretty sure he’d be the first to tell you it needs to go up.”


Carius was thrilled to hear the news.


“(Lange) called me and I congratulated him on that,” Carius said. “That’s fantastic. He’s an outstanding athlete. He’s had a great career in high school and he’s going to have an outstanding career in college. Records are made to be broken.”


Lange plans to take a two-week break before beginning training for his freshman cross country season at Michigan Technological University.


Stan Morris can be reached at smorris@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @stanmorrispjs