Indoor States Preview: Girls' Distance

Girls' 800 meters

Friends' Central's Gabrielle Wilkinson will look to defend her 800 meter state title on Sunday (Photo by Patty Morgan)

Wilkinson looks to defend against a deep field

Possibly the most surprising thing upon viewing the performance list was the absence of Sarah Walker (Germantown Friends'). The Stanford-bound half miler will not run in the state meet, leaving open an opportunity and creating some disappointment.

At last year's state meet, Walker and Friends' Central's Gabrielle Wilkinson were a part of the day's most exciting race in the 800 meters. They went step-for-step until the finish line. We won't see a rematch on Sunday, though, with Walker out.

But that doesn't mean this race can't once again be one of the most exciting events of the day. In fact, there's a good chance we could see some of the same drama we did a year ago. Wilkinson is entered in two events, and the 800 will be the second race of her day.

CB West's Maddie Villalba will look to add an indoor state title to her already impressive resume (Photo by Patty Morgan)

Maddie Villalba of Central Bucks West (who has won two AAA outdoor 800 meter titles) looked very strong in winning the DVGTCA Meet of Champs 800 this past weekend and is looking like more than a formidable challenger to Wilkinson. Villalba was seventh a year ago. Look for her to try and shake off that disappointment from last year with a big race on Sunday.

Olivia Arizin of Cardinal O'Hara will surely be a factor as well. Arizin is in the midst of a great season. In consecutive weekends, she was second at The Armory in 4:57.88, a double winner at PCLs, including a solo 2:15.09 800, and eighth at the Millrose Games in 4:55.68. Arizin has proven that she has the speed and strength to hang with the top two seeds.

Mount Lebanon's Claire Dougherty has seen a very steady progression in the 800 this season. At TSTCA Champs, she ran a 2:15.03 for the win. That points to the fact that her training is on point. Last year, she peaked well to grab a big indoor PR and a fourth place finish at states. We could see more of the same this year from the senior.

Mikayla Schneider of the Academy of Notre Dame was third a year ago, but she comes in as the sixth seed, making her somewhat of a darkhorse for Sunday. Schneider's speed has shown through this year, though. She was third at the DVGTCA Meet of Champs, but she was also third at MOCs in 2015. Can she channel some more magic this year?

Penn Wood's Terri Turner is another one to watch in the field, after putting down a 2:16.83 back in December. She's got in a good mix of speed and strength races this year, and she'll look to put herself in the mix.

Even without Walker, which was a shock to anyone that follows the sport, the 800 is still the must-watch event of the state meet.

List of entires:

Event 11  Girls 800 Meter Run (24)
  State Meet:  2:04.96  2/24/2007   Chanelle Price, Easton                     
     Name                        Year School                 Seed           
  1  Wilkinson, Gabrielle          10 Friends' Central    2:11.87 
  2  Villalba, Maddie              12 CB West             2:12.80 
  3  Arizin, Olivia                11 Card O'Hara         2:14.49 
  4  Dougherty, Claire             12 Mount Lebano        2:15.03 
  5  Turner, Terri                 11 Penn Wood           2:16.83 
  6  Schneider, Mikayla            12 Notre Dame          2:16.84 
  7  Brown, Claire                 12 Villa Maria Acad    2:17.14 
  8  Ritchie, Rebecca               9 Marple Newtown      2:17.30 
  9  Mickens, Jenn                 12 Pleasant Valley     2:17.94 
 10  Mancini, Christine             9 Card O'Hara         2:18.23 
 11  Bracken, Emily                12 Shanahan            2:18.84 
 12  Stovall, Sydni                11 Springfield (M)     2:19.21 
 13  Ross, Hayley                  10 Wissahickon         2:19.64 
 14  Brunton, Allison              11 O J Roberts         2:19.65 
 15  VanBlunk, Maddy               11 D-Town East         2:19.92 
 16  Bible, Lexi                   12 Hickory             2:20.19 
 17  Eberly, Makayla               11 Coatesville         2:20.22 
 18  Fedkina, Natasha              12 State College       2:20.35 
 19  Kole, Maddie                     Carlisle            2:20.39 
 20  Powell, Megan                 11 Hempfield (7)       2:20.54 
 21  Ehrenberger, Laura            11 Peters Towns        2:21.21 
 22  Chtourou, Amina               12 Wilson (3)          2:21.32 
 23  Kuhn, Cassidy                 12 Wyomissing          2:21.74 
 24  Barnett, Myla                 10 Baldwin Scho        2:21.88