From 252 miles away, Virginia high school junior, Kelsey Harrington is coming for the state crown in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs. She will however face her toughest competition of the year with Mary Caroline Heinen of Maggie Walker standing between her and that first state title.
Kelsey Harrington is probably not a name you've heard but it is definitely a name you should know now. She has tallied up 17 victories this season and now owns personal bests of 2:26, 5:06, and 10:45 for the three distance races.
In those three races she has PR'd by quite a bit too. In the 800 she has improved her PR 12 seconds, in the 1600 she has improved her PR 36 seconds, and in the 3200 she has improved her PR a staggering one minute and 27 seconds year over year. That type of improvement is way outside of what is "normal" and warrants some recognition in itself.
This weekend though is what Kelsey has been working towards. Yes, she wants to break five minutes in the Mile but the real goal on her mind is having the best races of her career Saturday.
To achieved this goal she will be racing the aforementioned MC Heinen. She is the same star athlete who has only lost a single 2A track race (to her own teammate back in 2017) and has amassed 10 state titles in a row since.
Though Heinen clearly holds the lead in the PR department, it is Harrington who has been PR'ing left and right this season and is almost even with her in the season best department. That should make for a great two races.
Finally there is also another layer to this showdown, it is going to be in one way or another a changing of guard. For the last six years Maggie Walker has dominated Group 2A but starting next year they will be in Group 3A. So even though MC and Harrington are both juniors, this will be their one and only meeting at the state level.
No matter who wins these showdowns it is also important to see how athletes from all across the state can improve and run some fast times. Virginia High is literally on the Tennessee border and is closer to the state capitals of Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and even Georgia than to Richmond, VA.
Despite that long distance and being in an often forgotten part of the state as far as running is concerned, Kelsey Harrington is ready to make that 252 mile journey to East Rock this weekend and make history happen.