SHIPPENSBURG >> Cardinal O’Hara’s Olivia Arizin had a plan for the 800-meter run at the indoor state championships. She just didn’t follow it and finished second to Penn Wood Terri Turner.
This time around, the county record holder in the event decided to stick to the script that had been laid out by her coach, James Williams, and the payoff was worth it.
Arizin won the girls Class 3A 800-meter run for the second straight year to highlight the effort by Delaware County athletes at the PIAA Track & Field Championships Saturday at Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium.
Arizin wasn’t the only local athlete to claim gold. Maggie Linton became the first athlete from Delaware County Christian School to win a state track title when she finished first in the 2A 800.
Girard College sophomore and Darby native Thelma Davies captured the 2A 100 and 200 for the second straight year. Neumann-Goretti junior and Collingdale resident Sydni Townsend won the 2A 300 hurdles and anchored the 4 x 400-meter relay team to gold to help the Saints capture the team title for the second straight year.
“I think this feels better than last year because of the indoor season,” Arizin said of her victory. “That really motivated me, made me really want this more. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while so it feels very good.”
Arizin followed a different strategy than the one she usually uses. For most of her career, Arizin liked to take the lead early and hold on for victory. This time around, though, she did not bolt to the front. Instead, Arizin held back until the 200-meter mark where she surged past North Penn’s Mikaela Vlasic to claim her second straight gold medal in 2 minutes, 7.49 seconds.
“Indoor states I had a plan, but I really didn’t follow it,” Arizin said. “I just got really excited and went early and ended up getting passed. I didn’t want that to happen again. That race taught me to be a little more strategic and I decided to sit until 200 instead of indoor where I went after 200.
“I just followed my plan. I wanted the win. I didn’t think about time or anything like that, all I thought about was winning. I felt really strong toward the end and the only thought in my mind was how good it would feel to win for a second year in a row.”
A week proved to be a huge difference for Linton. She won the District 1 Class 2A last week despite being sick. Saturday, Linton was healthy, hydrated and rested. The result was a gold medal in a career-best time of 2:12.84.
That run also gave her the distinction as the first gold medal winner from Delco Christian since Ed Roberts won the boys Class 2A triple jump in 2007.
“I’m kind of out of it right now,” Linton said. “It was a great race. The other girls pulled me along all the way through. It was just a great run for all of us.”
The moment of truth for Linton came as she was about to enter the stretch. As she passed the scoreboard the James Madison-bound senior knew that victory and history was hers for the taking.
“I was like, ‘Oh man, I have so much left in my gas tank that I have to use it all up and I just went for it on the straightaway,” Linton said.
And that earned her a spot in Delco Christian history.
“It’s a great feeling,” Linton said.
Top photo: Olivia Arizin captured the Class 3A 800-meter run for the second straight year at the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University Saturday. — Photo by Mike Reaves, DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA