Marlee Starliper dropped the nation's fastest 1,600 meter time and ran the second fastest time in Pennsylvania state history at Saturday's PIAA District 3 Championships.
Starliper, a junior at Northern, turned the race into a runaway, clocking a 4:38.70. Only the late Kim Gallagher, who went 4:35.34 in 1981, has run faster over 1600m. Starliper's time is a current US No. 1 this outdoor season by over four seconds. She also shattered the District 3 meet record, which was 4:50.23 and last set by Neely Spence in 2008.
Greencastle-Antrim's Taryn Parks ran 4:52.69 for second. The evening before, Starliper ran 10:24.21 to win the district title at 3,200 meters. Last week, Starliper broke the all-time state record in the 3200m with a 9:54.75 at the Loucks Games.
"I felt really strong, really focused and in control," Starliper said after the race. "I crossed the line and I was so overwhelmed and I'm so thankful so how I felt today."
|3||Gwyneth Young||10||Cedar Crest||4:53.45||1|
|4||Reagan Underwood||11||Wilson (3)||4:58.46||1|
|6||Katie Locker||11||Elizabethtown Area||4:59.69||1|
|8||Bryn Underwood||11||Wilson (3)||5:01.25||1|
|10||Cat Shontz||12||Elizabethtown Area||5:06.50||1|
Next up is the PIAA State Championships, back at Shippensburg on Friday and Saturday. Starliper ran the 3200m-1600m double last season, but this year she will go after just the 1600m. Last year, she won the 3200m and was third in the 1600m. She is hungry for her first 1600m state title.
Parks is also going after the 1600m at states. Parks went 2:09.56 to win the 800m and also set a District 3 meet record after the 1600m, but she will not contest the two-lapper at the state meet. She will, however, run a leg on Greencastle-Antrim's 4x400-meter relay.
The stage is set for a great race in the AAA 1600m meters at the state meet. Starliper and Parks battled it out in one of the greatest races in state history with Parks nipping Starliper at the line at New Balance Nationals Indoor. Both ran 4:39.05 for a full mile with Parks getting the all-time state record.
A rematch with the pair (mostly) fresh will be one of the races of the day at states.
"Taryn is a great competitor. She keeps you on your toes -- you never quite know what she's going to do in a race," Starliper said of her District 3 counterpart.