A whirlwind season for sophomore Katie Locker has finally come to a close, as she finished seventh in the Class 3A girls 1,600-meter run during the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University on Saturday, May 26.
Locker’s preliminary run on Friday, May 25, wasn’t up to her usual standards. She finished sixth in her heat with a time of 5:07.50, good for 11th overall. It was enough to push her through to the finals, however, where she held off sophomore Sophia Toti from Carlisle (5:00.65) for a time of 5:00.52, her best result of the season in the 1,600-meter run.
“I was kind of close toward the 200-meter,” Locker said. “I wasn’t sure if I had a big enough kick at the end to outrun her, so I just waited and sat on it for a little bit until the last 100 meters. Then I knew I had enough. I was pretty happy with the way I finished.”
It was especially impressive considering the weather in Shippensburg at the time. Friday’s temperatures hoveredaround 88 degrees Fahrenheit, and Saturday’s were even worse, hitting 91 degrees at one point.
“I don’t do as well in the heat, which is why I’m happy how I did today,” Locker said. “But everybody else is running in the same heat as I am, so that’s great for them too.”
Sophomore Taryn Parks of Greencastle won the event in 4:46.09, followed closely by senior Katie Dammer of Abington Heights (4:47.94). Sophomore Marlee Starliper of Northern (4:49.01), who won the District 3 girls 1,600-meter run, edged out Upper St. Clair senior Savannah Shaw (4:49.51) for third, while two more District 3 runners, senior Andrea Demko of Hershey (4:57.94) and junior Kileigh Kane of State College (4:59.60) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, ahead of Locker.
“They are pretty tough,” Locker said. “I think they have a lot of endurance and mental strength. I didn’t get as a good (of a finish) as I wanted to, but it’s still pretty good because of the heat.”
As a freshman in 2017, Locker finished in eighth place with a time of 4:56.70, so while her time was slightly worse this time around, she also placed one spot better. Given the level of competition and the fact that she was Elizabethtown’s lone athletes in attendance, it’s certainly something for her to be proud of.
“I think the girls that are ahead of me are super good,” Locker said. “So placing one spot ahead is still pretty good for me. I know there were seniors from last year who graduated. I think I improved a little bit. I think I also could’ve improved more, but it’s OK since I still have two years left to work with.”
Locker will have the rest of the summer to train before cross country begins in the fall. If she keeps up the pace, she could be even more successful in her final two years of high school.
“I definitely want to go under five (minutes) since I didn’t do that at all this year,” Locker said. “That’s one of my biggest goals. I’d also like to move my ranking up even more.”