PHILADELPHIA >> Thursday evening at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania, Staples’ Hannah DeBalsi pulled away to win the girls’ 3,000 meters title at the Penn Relays in a time of 9 minutes and 34.57 seconds.
This was the sophomore’s first time running at the Penn Relays.
Hannah Christen of Burke Va. finished in second (9:37.57), while Regan Rome of Dallas, Pa. was third (9:37.71).
DeBalsi, who became the frontrunner after Tessa Barrett of Clarks Summit, Pa. dropped out earlier this week, was able to separate herself from the pack almost halfway through the race.
DeBalsi explained though she got caught in the group of runners in the beginning of the race.
“I think the most exciting thing was seeing her pull away with about 1,200 meters,” Staples girls’ assistant track coach Amanda Morgan said.
DeBalsi was able to control the rest of the race as she held off an emerging Christen toward the end.
“I could hear Malcolm (Watson, assistant coach) yelling, ‘She’s coming,'” DeBalsi said. “I would have liked to have ran a faster pace though.”
DeBalsi said this was her first big race of the outdoor season, and it was a unique experience running in the historic venue and meet.
For winning, DeBalsi took home a gold Rolex watch that all the winners receive.
Staples’ 4×400 relay squad of Erica Hefnawy, Olivia Wiener, Kathryn Lieder and Tyler Scanlin finished in 4:05.57.
Morgan said that was the fastest time the relay has run this season.