HURT SO GOOD! Zachary's Rhen Langley Takes Down 3200m Record

"The picture shows the pain."

That was what Zachary senior Rhen Langley said when he saw the picture of his finish in the 1,600m at the LSU High School Qualifier last month when he ran 4:13.91 and broke the fieldhouse composite record with the No. 4 time in the nation.

Last night, the "good wolf" -- a term coined by his coach, Julie Fink -- inflicted pain on his body again at the LSU Last Chance Qualifier. But this time, his prey was Eric Coston's fieldhouse composite record of 9:17 in the 3,200m. 

And it came on the record's six-year-anniversary.

Once again, Langley came through the line in time -- at 9:16.10 -- to hear the glorious roar from the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse crowd, which was informed of every 200m split by the iconic voice of legendary public address announcer Mike Boyer. 

No distance runner in Louisiana history has run faster indoors than Langley.

"It feels awesome," Langley said. "Ever since ninth grade, I had my first indoor race. I got demolished. I'm not going to lie. At indoor state, I got lapped twice. From that day forward I knew I wasn't going to let that happen anymore. I've always kind of--not seen the future--but I've always had those high goals. I have always believed I could achieve."

Langley left behind a talented pack of runners in the LSU Last Chance 3,200m field early in the race. He could hear Fink and Boyer informing him of his 200m splits.

"I was trying to hit 34s consistently," Langley said. "Not a lot of 35s. That last 800m was something else. I really started hurting. The crowd helped a lot the last 400."

How does a runner push the envelope and inflict pain on his body--especially when there is no threat from the nearest competitor?

"I visualize this," Langley said. "I love it. Regardless of who is in the race, I'm going to get the job done." 

Langley's success at the start of his last semester of high school is especially sweet after suffering through bitter disappointments-some of which came during state championship events.

"Sometimes things don't go the way you hope and it really crushes you," Langley said. "But I'm a big believer in what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You're going to feel low. You're going to feel sad. I remember the 2021 outdoor state-that was the most heartbreaking loss I've had. I flush it after a day and on the next one."

Insteading of flushing Saturday's epic performance, Langley, who signed with LSU earlier this year, will savor it before preparing for the 2023 LHSAA State Indoor Championships, where he is the two-time LHSAA Division I 1600m defending champion.