Prior to the girls' Gold race on Saturday, MileSplit had ranked Marissa Sheva of Pennridge and Mady Clahane of Cumberland Valley in the top-15 of the Footlocker Northeast Region. They both showed on Saturday why they are on that list by finishing 1-2 in the Gold race by more than 50 seconds ahead of the next finisher.
Sheva had a plan in mind heading into Saturday's race and it worked to perfection.
"My plan was to take it out aggressively with Mady and just kind of see where it went from there because I didn't know what her race plan was. I think I was basically going to see how I felt in the race and then put my move in."
Sheva was leading a tight group at the one-mile mark before she took over the race. She had a terrific middle mile that allowed her to cruise to a winning time of 18:48. Her time could have possibly been ever better, but she said she was feeling it at the back hills.
"I think I could have finished a little bit stronger. I was really feeling it coming up the back hills, but ultimately I was pretty happy."
She entered the weekend ranked as the 11th-best girl in the region, but that should improve in next month's ranking if she continues to race like this. This race could definitely catapult her to her ultimate goal of competing well at the state meet and winning the state cross-country title. Sheva should expect to be competing against Clahane at least a few more times this season; including the state meet.
Clahane entered Saturday's race in the midst of a very impressive streak. In her first two years, she had never finished worse than fifth at any state competition and that streak continued with a very good performance on Saturday. She was hoping to continue this tremendous streak Saturday, and one way of doing that was by starting the race on a fast note.
"I definitely thought I was going to go faster, so I took it out a little fast for the weather conditions."
She had a terrific start to the race as she was within five seconds of Sheva as they reached the mile mark. The gap between Sheva and Clahane had increased dramatically by the end of the second-mile, but Clahane managed to decrease that gap with a strong finish. She ended up finishing the race in 2nd place with a time of 18:57, which was 57 seconds ahead of the next finisher. Clahane said that she was content with her placement, but not with her time.
"I was happy with my placement, but not my time," said the District 3 champion. "I just thought I ran it better in the previous year and I just wanted to get that time. I got 18:10 last year and I wanted to get that or better, but that didn't happen. I can't run super well every race."
Even though she is not happy with her time, it is still a good time considering the weather on Saturday. The weather at PTXC6 was hot and humid, which ended up affecting everyone's overall time.
Clahane entered the weekend ranked as the eighth-best girl in the region, but it is too soon to predict how this race will affect her ranking next month. She said that she plans to use her 'disappointing' time on Saturday to "fuel the fire to make me run faster this season." Clahane will have plenty of opportunities to improve from her 'disappointing' time on Saturday over the next two to three months.