Arizin breaks Klick’s record as O’Hara rolls to PCL title


It was no surprise that Olivia Arizin went right to the front at the Catholic League cross country championships Saturday. The junior All-Delco from Cardinal O’Hara likes to run from the front.

Nor was it a shock that Arizin came away with the individual title to lead O’Hara to its third straight team championship and ninth crown in the last 12 years. She and the Lions were the heavy favorites going in.
What was astonishing was Arizin’s performance.

Arizin broke Sheila Klick’s meet record by four seconds to become the third different Lion to win the individual title in the last four years. Elizabeth Mancini was the individual champion last year, while her older sister, Grace, won it in 2013 and 2012.

Grace Mancini was third. Elizabeth Mancini placed fourth and Sara Hayes was fifth as the Lions finished with 18 points, three shy of tying the meet record O’Hara set last year when it claimed the top five places.

The day, though, belonged to Arizin. She crossed the finish line at the Belmont Plateau course in 18 minutes, 32 seconds to break Klick’s record of 18:36, which the Archbishop Prendergast grad set in 1998.

More amazingly, it bettered Arizin’s top time for the Belmont Plateau course by 43 seconds. Her previous best was 19:25 when she won the Briarwood Invitational a month ago.

“I really feel that my fitness level is getting better,” Arizin said. “I feel like I getting stronger as the season goes on.”
Arizin said she knew what the meet record was, but did not know what her time was until she heard people talking about it afternoon.

“It means a lot,” she said. “It’s exciting to see how far I’ve come and how far the team has come.”

As usual, Arizin took the lead right from the start and never took her foot off the gas.

“I wanted to go strong, be comfortable, but not do anything too crazy,” Arizin said. “I went really hard for the first two miles, basically using it as a workout for the state meet. This race is similar to the state race, only the hills (at the PIAA championships) are a little harder.”

Christine Mancini, Eleanor Mancini and Maura Lyons placed ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively, for the Lions. Samantha Gliwa of Bonner-Prendergast finished seventh, while Tess Gibbons from Archbishop Carroll placed 14th.

On the boys side, Cardinal O’Hara’s Rob Morro and Ryan James finished 1-2, but that was not enough to extend the Lions’ team championship streak to six in a row. La Salle took third through sixth to end O’Hara’s championship run and win its first PCL title since 2009.
Morro won the individual title with a time of 16:22. James finished in 16:30. Billy Donovan placed 14th for the Lions, while Sean Sullivan of Bonner-Prendergast was eighth.

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