The Elizabethtown Area High School track and field team had a number of athletes in the field at the District 3 Track and Field Championships, which took place on Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, at Shippensburg University. While only one EAHS competitor wound up medaling, she did it in impressive fashion.
Sophomore Katie Locker won the Class 3A girls 800-meter run and finished fourth in the girls 1,600-meter run to collect Elizabethtown’s only medals from the event. Both results also qualified her for the PIAA Track and Field Championships, which will start at Shippensburg on Friday, May 25.
The 800-meter run was a tough one for Locker. Seeded first coming into the event, she was able to maintain a lead after the first lap. Central Dauphin East junior Makenna Krebs kept things close, however, briefly passing Locker halfway through the final lap before the latter went out in front again just before the final turn. Her 2:13.52 was her best result of the season for the 800.
“I got out pretty good, but then as I cut in, there were a lot of girls bunched up,” Locker said. “I tried to get around them, and then I heard my coach saying, ‘You have to get outside’ from the sidelines, so I went for it. After that, I knew that I had to go on the last lap. I could still hear people behind me pushing, which is really nice because I like having that kick. It did surprise me when (the Central Dauphin East) girl passed me with 200 meters left.”
Locker did well in the 1,600-meter run as well, starting out as the sixth seed and staying close to the front of the pack for the entire race, eventually pulling away to take fourth in 5:01.83. Northern sophomore Marlee Starliper won in 4:46.86, a district meet record.
“The girls ahead of me are crazy insane, so I’m pretty happy with where I ended up,” Locker said. “I was just feeling loose, so I kept that energy up the whole time. I don’t know if I could have gotten faster. I might have been able to if there was someone closer in front of me.”
While Locker qualified for both the 800 and 1,600 for the state championships, she’ll forgo the former and compete in the latter, where she’s seeded fifth out of 25 qualifiers. It was a tough choice to make, especially considering that her time for the 800 would also be fifth. On the flip side, she competed in the 1,600 as a freshman last season, finishing eighth, so the opportunity to better that result is certainly possible. Locker was torn on the decision immediately after districts.
“I’m between the 1,600 and the 800 for states,” Locker said. “I think I might try the 800, but I’ll have to talk to my coach about that. I think that’s made a big difference. I really don’t know where I’ve came from last year. I’ve kind of shot up, which I was surprised about, but I couldn’t have done it without my coach and my teammates to encourage me.”
Elizabethtown had five other individual competitors in the event as well, along with one relay team. Junior Cat Shontz placed 12th in the girls 1,600-meter run behind Locker, alongside a 14th-place finish in the girls 3,200-meter run. Freshman Madeline Quinn was 16th in the latter as well.
Senior Audrey Schlosser was the next highest finisher for the Bears after Locker, tying for 11th in the girls pole vault. Fellow senior Josie Angeny was originally set to compete in the pole vault as well, but she was forced to bow out due to injury before the event. Sophomore Alicia Underkoffler finished 15th in the girls 300-meter hurdles.
For the boys, senior Chris Scharf did well in the boys 3,200-meter run, leading at the halfway point before eventually dropping back to 12th. He, his twin brother Charles, senior Jason Trimble and sophomore Aiden Weaver also took part in the boys 4×800-meter relay, ending up in 15th place.
The two medals from Locker were enough to tie Elizabethtown for 18th in the Class 3A team standings for the girls, where Warwick dominated to take the title. Mechanicsburg pulled out a team victory in the Class 3A boys standings, barely beating out Penn Manor and Ephrata.Elizabethtown was not ranked.
Locker will have her work cut out for her at states. But with good preparation, she definitely has a shot. She’s credited her coaches and teammates, most notably Shontz and Quinn, for their support this season.
“I’ll probably just keep doing the things my coach has been making me do with my workouts,” Locker said. “I’ll also hang out with the people I love most, my teammates.”