Arizin’s improvement obvious to Sacred Heart’s Seifried

UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Emma Seifried couldn’t quite pull off her second consecutive victory in the girls varsity race at the Delco Cross Country Championships, but she was close. And if she had to concede her title Saturday at Rose Tree Park, at least she knew who captured it.
“I’m fine with two,” the Sacred Heart sophomore said of her second-place run in 18 minutes, 43 seconds.
Seifried and the race winner, Cardinal O’Hara’s Olivia Arizin, know each other from their Catholic Youth Organization track days. For a long while, they led Saturday’s 5-kilometer race for the county’s girls crown.
“I was trying to kick it in at the end to try to close the gap on Olivia, but it was too big of a gap,” said Seifried, the reigning Daily Times girls runner of the year. “I was trying to stay with her but I think I went out too fast with her. I think we were trying to stay with each other.”
Arizin eventually broke away and swiped the top spot in 18:20, which was announced as course record for girls for the meet. Her blistering run was a near-minute improvement from last year’s, in which she finished more than 30 seconds behind Seifried for sixth place as a sophomore.
“I didn’t really know myself as a runner yet (last year),” she said. “Track season really opened my eyes.”
She was referring to a breakout 2015 spring season in which she eclipsed the 2:10 mark in the 800-meter run three times in the season’s final month.

In her final go-round, she took sixth (2:09.07) in the New Balance National Championships in June, a feat that helped draw All-America honors.
Performances like those, and an eighth-place, 18:19 finish last weekend at Lehigh University’s Paul Short Invitational, have also given Arizin something to write about in what she called her “little running notebook.”
“I just keep track of every run that I do,” she said. “How I feel in the runs, where I do the runs, who I do them with. Like maybe if something funny happened, I’ll write it down. It’s amazing to look through that after each season.”
Perhaps she’ll flip through those pages some day to relive her record-breaking race and her subsequent, excitable note that went with it. But entering the meet Saturday, she was a cool customer.
“You can’t really put expectations on any meet. If you do and something else happens, you get really disappointed,” said Arizin, who also took first-team All-Delco honors for cross country and track last spring. “I don’t put any expectations on myself. Obviously I want to do my best, but as long as I can walk away and said I did my best, I think it’s an accomplished day.”
Considering some of her recent accomplishments, one motivational source might raise the occasional eyebrow.
“I feel like a lot of people have been coming up to me … like, ‘Oh, I didn’t really think you were a cross country runner,’” she said. “And that, to me, is motivation. I can be any kind of runner I want to be, you know?
“(But) it doesn’t bother me. It’s just funny.”
Sisters Elizabeth (seventh) and Grace (ninth) Mancini followed for O’Hara behind Arizin, as they helped the Lions top the overall standings for the second year in a row. Strath Haven’s Maia Mesyngier (19:26) took fifth to lead the Panthers — the last team to win a varsity race in the Delco meet race not named O’Hara — to the runner-up spot.
Meanwhile, Jamie Green led Ridley to third overall with her fourth-place individual time of 19:11. Green placed 22nd in the varsity race a year ago as a freshman.

“I wasn’t able to break 20 (minutes) last year. This is the first year I’ve been breaking 20,” said Green, who admitted she didn’t expect to crack the meet’s top five. “My coach just tells me who the good girls are and just who to beat.”

She was able to catch Mesyngier and O’Hara’s Mancini sisters. She couldn’t quite overtake the likes of Arizin, Seifried and Penn Wood senior Agnes Mansaray, who took third in 19:05.
That’s OK, though. Not many can.

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