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."