UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Olivia Arizin couldn’t remember how she finished at the Delaware County Cross Country Championships during her freshman season. She won’t have any trouble recalling that as a Cardinal O’Hara junior and senior she earned the individual titles, and Saturday she helped the Lions earn the team championship under first-year head coach Tom Kennedy.
“I didn’t really start running until last week,” Arizin said. “I was getting all my college visits in, but now I’m happy to be able to run again and be with my teammates.”
O’Hara’s Eleanor Mancini took second place Saturday, followed by Ridley’s Jamie Green, Emma Seifried of Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Liz Mancini of O’Hara and Strath Haven’s Isabel Cardi.
“Last year there were runners who finished a lot closer to me,” Arizin said. “The weather might have affected the times today, but the effort was the same.”
After one mile, the race was close. By the two-mile mark, it was Arizin well ahead of the rest of the pack.
“It’s good to get back into it,” Arizin said of her return to racing. “Now I have time to get ready for all the meets we’ll be having until the end of the season.”
Arizin hopes that season ends with her claiming a state meet medal in Hershey in four weeks.
“I had huge goals when I was a freshman,” she said. “But things didn’t always go the way I wanted. I know things can happen, but I’m more mature about everything now.
“I really believe I’ve saved my best for last.”
Eleanor Mancini wasn’t pleased with her time, but did turn in her best finish at the Delco championship meet.
“I usually watch a movie to help get ready for the race, and I watched the one about how (Steve Prefontaine) always wanted to take the lead,” she said. “We went out fast today, and it might have been a little too fast. I had to work to keep from getting passed at the end.”
Liz Mancini knew Arizin would be working at the front of the pack.
“My idea was to go for it on the second mile,” she said. “When I got tired, I knew I had a little left, so I tried to give it everything I had.”
Seifried, who should be one of the favorites in the District 1A race later this month, stayed with the leaders early before dropping back a bit.
“I went out relaxed,” she said. “I didn’t want to get in back of too many people or try to go into my kick too early. I had a different pair of shoes today, and that could have made a little difference.”
Green, a junior, has improved in Delcos from 22nd place as a freshman to fourth place as a sophomore to third place Saturday.
“I was really struggling in the beginning of the season and just couldn’t run any faster than 24 minutes,” she said. “I wasn’t running well until we went to Coopertown (in Haverford) last week and I took second place in 19:04.
“I won the Central League (championship race) last year and then went to states, and my goals this year are to win Central Leagues again and then do better at states.”
Cardi took sixth place despite running on a sore ankle, which she turned earlier in the day at Rose Tree.
“I was nervous any way, and then that happened,” she said. “The first mile was so fast today I had to pull back in the second mile. The third mile was just me trying to do as much as I could.”