Newbury Park unleashes Colin Sahlman, its newest running standout

Newbury Park junior Colin Sahlman
Newbury Park junior Colin Sahlman ran the fourth-fastest 3,200 meters by a junior in California history last week in 8:47.05.

How is Newbury Park High supposed to top a talent the caliber of Nico Young, the Gatorade national runner of the year in track and cross-country in 2019-20?

Leave it up to coach Sean Brosnan to develop another, and his name is Colin Sahlman, a junior who ran the fourth-fastest 3,200-meter time by a junior in California history last weekend when he crossed the finish line in 8 minutes 47.05 seconds during a meet in Arizona.

Sahlman’s cross-country season ended early because of state COVID-19 restrictions, but he and others from Newbury Park have been traveling for national competitions. With no guarantee of national or regional meets in California for track and field, Brosnan decided to make sure Sahlman was ready to perform at a high level even though it would be way too early to peak for May and June competitions in normal years.

Sahlman’s 8:47.05 last week was “the fastest time ever in February,” Brosnan said. “Most people don’t run that fast that early. We’re not hopeful there’s going to be anything, so every opportunity he gets he has to be ready for.”

Said Sahlman: “It’s definitely shaken up the normal season. We’re doing track earlier than we usually do. We’re doing more speed workouts and faster runs to train for shorter track events. That training has helped me peak right now.”


Sahlman was a teammate of Young, who is now at Northern Arizona. He showed potential in a December cross-country competition, running a 5K in 14:27.03, the No. 1 mark in the nation.

“He texted me congratulations,” Sahlman said of Young. “I’m super glad he was my teammate and have someone as a role model to see if I can run faster.”

Sahlman’s mother, Chrystall, ran competitions for Nebraska and Azusa Pacific. His father is a Los Angeles County sheriff‘s deputy.

Sahlman will be spending the next three weeks preparing for a mile competition in Arizona before taking aim at running an 8:40 for 3,200 meters later in the year.

“Colin is just stronger in general,” Brosnan said. “His aerobic capacity is better. He’s always been very fast. His consistency has paid off. I always knew he’d be one of the best in the country. Not having an opportunity to race made him more hungry to go for it.”