5 Pennsylvanians Set For Foot Locker Nationals

Marlee Starliper (Northern)

Regionals Performance: Starliper took down the Northeast region two weeks ago at FLNE, running the second fastest time in the meet's history. Starliper out-dueled the defending national champion, Sydney Masciarelli of Connecticut, to win in 17:03. Starliper won as a sophomore and took second as a junior. But this year, she recaptured the region, nearly cracking the 17-minute barrier.

Season Recap: It was a banner season for Starliper once again. Earlier in the season, she ran the fastest-ever XC 5K by a PA girl with a 16:30 at Lebanon Valley. She rolled to more victories leading up to the state meet, where she shattered the Hershey course record with a 17:10 to win her third straight AA state crown. Then it was off to Van Cortlandt where she won the region for a second time.

After regionals, Starliper accepted an invitation to go to Portland, Oregon for Nike Cross Nationals, where she placed fifth in the country.

Nationals Outlook: Starliper figures to be one of the favorites at Foot Locker Nationals. The race won't feature three-time NXN champion Katelyn Tuohy from New York, but a number of talented girls will be in the mix for the win. Chief among them is Sydney Masciarelli from Connecticut, who won the national title last season, though Starliper did beat her at FLNE. Ohio's Taylor Ewert was a very close second to Tuohy at NXN last week. 2018 FL runner-up Katelynne Hart, along with Michigan's Zofia Dudek, FL Midwest winner Abby Vanderkooi of Michigan, and FL South winner Jenna Hutchins of Tennessee are among the other contenders. Each girl has a legitimate claim to the top spot.

It's an incredibly wide open field. Expect Starliper to put herself in the front pack, as she'll duke it out with this deep group. After a 13th place finish at Foot Locker Nationals last season, Starliper is hungry for a happy ending to her scholastic XC career.