Germantown Friends School freshman Sarah Walker ran the 800 meters in 2:08.55 on May 31, a time which is the fastest for any high school runner in Pennsylvania in 2013, and the best time turned in by a freshman anywhere in the country this year.

by Tom Utescher

Several athletes who were featured in last week’s LOCAL have made their mark on the national level; Germantown Friends’ Sarah Walker and Germantown Academy’s Sam Ritz in track, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Kitty Morrissey in lacrosse.

A day after the LOCAL’s deadline last week, it was learned that Morrissey was selected as an Honorable Mention All-American by the national governing body of the sport, U.S. Lacrosse. Morrissey, who had already committed to Duke University during her junior year at SCH, led the Blue Devils in scoring as a senior, with 69 goals.

The only other Girls’ Inter-Ac League players to receive the honor (also Honorable Mention) were Kristen Hinckley and Lindsey Reder, who both play for league champion Episcopal Academy.

The national spotlight found Walker and Ritz as a result of their performances at the John Hay Memorial Pa. Distance Festival on May 31.

Although Walker is only a freshman, her personal best time of 2:08.55 in the 800 meters turned out to be the fastest time produced by any Pennsylvania runner, regardless of grade, during the 2013 outdoor season. It was also the best time run by a ninth grader anywhere in the United States so far this year.

In the men’s mile run at the Distance Festival, Carlisle High School sophomore Zach Brehm’s winning time of 4:09.27 made him the top-ranked 10th-grader in the country this spring, while GA’s Ritz, also a sophomore came in second. Hitting the line at 4:11.73, Ritz vaulted into second place on the national list of 10th-graders, with his time exactly one second faster than the previous standard bearer, who hails from Michigan.

Local track aficionados were looking forward to seeing some more noteworthy performances last Friday at the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Area Invitational, but the event at Germantown Academy was called off due to the monsoon-like conditions. Distance runners, in particular, are known to compete in any type of weather, but the rapid rising of the Wissahickon Creek, which runs right through GA’s property, caused local authorities to evacuate the campus. At present, it’s not certain whether it will be possible to reschedule the meet.

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