Dalton earns state medal
Abby Dalton recalled four years ago, during her first trip to the state cross country meet, the “experts” that showed her the way. On Saturday, she was one of those experts in her final trip to Hershey.
Dalton placed 25th and earned the final medal of the PAA Class 3A girls race, running a time of 19:36 to pace the Hornet finishers. Dalton also provided guidance to freshman Kera Reinhard, who placed 103rd in 20:32.
“I’m the expert,” Dalton said. “I had a bunch of experts when I was a freshman. Now that I’m a senior, it was really fun being able to help someone that is really new to this.”
“It’s a different dynamic between having a team here and individuals,” head coach Dan Wessner said. “The two of them, we’ve had an awesome weekend. We had fun yesterday [Friday]. Abby has been here several times. She’s a medalist. She was given that mentorship role a little bit to help get Kera places she needed to be and talking her through everything.”
Dalton, who also medaled as a freshman back in 2013—dealt with a number of unfortunate injuries after that memorable state run. She didn’t live up to her own expectations in her sophomore and junior seasons, but she wanted to leave a lasting impact as she finally got 100 percent healthy.
Much like districts, Dalton used a strong push down the final stretch to place herself into medal contention. She estimated that she was around 60th place before she started to pick up the pace and hold off two Lehigh Valley runners—Easton’s Lauren Madison and Liberty’s Belle Weikert—for the final medal.
“I had some goal times for the first mile and the second mile,” Dalton said. “I did not hit them. From the very beginning I was having trouble getting out there. I got stuck behind a bunch of people and could not get out…I just really tried to push it on the down hills and up hills. I was able to catch up and pass more people on the last mile.
“I’m very happy, and I couldn’t have asked for a better last cross country race for high school.”
The result, however, was a bit different from districts. Dalton realized it was her final high school cross country race and the legacy that she could leave behind at Hershey.
“This one is definitely harder than most races,” Dalton said. “It kind of reminds me of districts because I pushed it really hard at the end at districts, too. This was a much more fortunate race.
“I definitely wanted to get a medal. From my perspective, the best medals you can get in this race are No. 1 and No. 25. Both are the most exciting.”
In her first trip to states, Reinhard put together a solid outing against the state’s premier competition. She was the 14th fastest freshman in her race on Saturday.
“Kera ran a great race for her first time being out here,” Wessner said. “The two of them were great together. It was a nice fun day.”