With the way Robyn Oakley decimated the competition in yesterday's 800-meter final at the Catholic League track and field championships, you would never know that the Cardinal O'Hara junior still considers herself a novice in the event.
On a rain-soaked rubber track at Widener University, Oakley ran her best time in an event she picked up midway through the season, en route to a first-place time of 2 minutes, 15.65 seconds - 4 seconds faster than her closest competitor.
"I just kind of started running it at the DELCO [Invitational], which was my first open 800, and then just the trials for this," Oakley said. "So I just knew I had to go as hard as I can. I tried to hear if anyone was behind me on the that last 100 [meters], but I just told myself to keep going and don't quit now."
It was an event that summed up a stellar day for Oakley, who also won the 100-meter (15.57) and 300-meter hurdles (44.28), earning her three gold medals and the PCL's Most Valuable Track Performer award.
"I'm still figuring out how to run it now, I guess," Oakley said. "I usually run sprints, but I really find it [the 800] to be easier in ways and harder in ways. I'm excited to get back into it, but I'm a little nervous, too, so I just plan to stick with it and see what happens."
Led by Oakley's dominance in her event along with the efforts of others, O'Hara was able to capture back-to-back league titles with a team score of 193.50, ahead of second-place finisher Archbishop Prendergast (99) and West Catholic (56).
On the track, O'Hara's Sarah Houtmann won the 100- (12.46) and 200-meters (25.51), Prendie's Arielle Fonrose won the 400 (56.88), and Archbishop Carroll's Caitlin Storbeck took both the mile (5:15.51) and 2-mile (11:38.13) titles, showing pure courage to surpass O'Hara's Beth Kelly (5:18.78) and Colleen Roe (5:24.63), who led for much of the race and who Storbeck cited as her toughest competition.
"She also ran cross-country and she intimidates me," said Storbeck of Roe. "I mean, this was such a mental race for me, but with about 400 meters to go, I just said to myself, 'This is my senior year; there is nothing to lose,' so I just knew I had to go all out."
O'Hara swept all three relay events, taking first in the 400, 1,600 and 3,200. In field events, it was much the same, as O'Hara's Alysha Womack won both the high jump (5-2) and long jump (16-9 1/2). Alysha Munsey (pole vault, 9-0) and Christina Costanzo (triple jump, 34-7) shined for Ryan while Prendie had winners in Kara McDonald (javelin, 111-3) and Cloe Smith (shot put 37-7). *