The final race of her high school career may not have been what she envisioned, but the whole of Aislinn Devlin’s career at Downingtown West has to be admired. Besides, finishing second in the state cannot be easily waved away.
Devlin battled through injury and illness this winter and spring, and still fashioned a season that has earned her the Daily Local News All-Area Girls Track Athlete of the Year award.
“It’s really cool,” Devlin said of the award. “I didn’t have the outdoor season I hoped to have, so it’s a cool thing to be recognized for what I did do.”
Devlin came into the PIAA Championships with designs on defending her title in the 3,200 meters, but ran into a big roadblock by the name of Claire Savchik of North Allegheney.
“I went out fast in the beginning and was content in the middle,” she said. “But, the girl who won (Savchik), made a move. I was trying to close the gap, but she made a surge. She ran super fast. It was a good race.”
Devlin finished second in 10:30.68. Savchik posted a near-meet record mark of 10:21.65.
The silver medal didn’t put a damper on the previous winning efforts from Devlin. She ran away with the 3,200 in districts, clocking a 10:43.43, beating MaryGrace Rittler of Cheltenham by a little more than eight seconds.
“I was happy to win at districts,” she said. “I didn’t run as well as I wanted to. I tripped on the rail, but I was happy with the win. Honestly, I think my favorite race was the 4×800 we won at the Ches-Monts. That was the first time in school history we qualified for districts.”
Devlin came off a superb cross country season where she won the state championship. She accomplished the rare feat of winning the runner of the year award in both cross country and outdoor track in the same year.
“It’s really cool to be named twice in the same year, there’s a lot of really fast girls,” she said.
However, the cross country season left her with some nagging injuries that kept her out of some prestigious national events. She spent most of the winter track season rehabbing and working on regaining her form.
Spending most of her time in the fast — if albeit, long distance — lane doesn’t afford a high school senior much time for reflection, but she took a moment to look on her stellar career.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” she said. I’m proud of everything I have accomplished, at the same time, I want to accomplish bigger and better things.”
The next stage of her career carries her to Harvard University, where she won’t have to look far if she wants some reminders of home. Fellow Ches-Mont runner Anna Juul will be one of her classmates. They will join former Unionville star Courtney Smith in Cambridge.
Devlin expects to run cross country as well for the Crimson.
“I was just impressed with the group of girls and the team culture,” she said on choosing Harvard.
Devlin played soccer, lacrosse and did gymnastics as a younger girl, before concentrating on running in middle school.
“My dad was a pro triathlete and my brother ran,” she said. “I knew I was going to become a runner. I love running. As an individual sport, you get out what you put in. No one can hold you back or put a limit on you.”
Now that her high school career is done with, her place among the best distance runners in the state is something that Devlin is happy to be a part of.
“There’s so many big names who have run in Pa.,” she said. “It gives me so much confidence that my name is up there with Courtney Smith, the Sargent sisters and others.”