It was one of the fastest fields in the history of the Montgomery Invitational - and five of the six runners in the top section were either freshmen or sophomores: Bullis sophomores Masai Russell and Ayanna Johnson, Franklin sophomore Nyjari McNeil and freshman Sydney Gilbert and Maryvale Prep freshman (and future Franklin teammate) Cameron Hinton. Heading into the matchup the personal best leaderboard for the girls in the race looked like this:
1. McNeil 1:15.29
2. Hinton 1:15.41
3. Russell 1:16.59
4. Gilbert 1:19.78
5. Oluchi Ike (Flowers) 1:21.04
That wasn't the only reason why Masai Russell's eventual victory, pulling away from McNeil and beating her by nearly a full second, was surprising; she was also running through an injury at the time! Russell's 1:13.72 performance was also not only a big personal best, but it was also the fastest time in the US in the 500 at the time. The time was also a new meet record, one that stood for two years until McNeil came back as a senior and ran 1:13.37.