Dalton caps career with state medal
By TODD KRESS
When she was just a kid, Abby Dalton would run with her mom around the neighborhood. It was usually at night, which meant Abby got to stay up past her bedtime. What kid wouldn’t like that?
That was one positive for Dalton. But an even bigger one is how it introduced her to the sport of running competitively.
Dalton capped her high school career with a memorable senior campaign. She earned a state cross country medal in the fall and six medals in track and field in the spring. For her senior performance, Dalton is named the East Penn Press Female Athlete of the Year.
“I started running with my mom when I was pretty little because she was a runner,” Dalton said. “It was nothing serious. But I did a few races for little kids here and there. I became excited when I would be able to start with the real competitions in seventh and eighth grade.”
Dalton broke onto the scene at Emmaus as a distance runner in her first varsity season. She medaled as a freshman at the state cross country meet and never looked back.
This past season, Dalton once again returned to Hershey for the PIAA Cross Country Championships and impressed once again. She placed 25th and earned her second state cross country medal in four seasons.
It was even more satisfying after dealing with an injury during her sophomore and junior seasons. When she got orthotics for her feet, she was back to normal.
“I had a really good year my freshman year,” Dalton said. “My middle two years weren’t so great, so I wanted to end on a good note and prove to myself that I could still run as fast as I could when I was a freshman. I didn’t want to lose my time as I got older.
“I worked really hard my senior year, and it had its ups and downs because leagues and districts were really difficult. But I was able to end on a really good note, win a medal, and get the same personal best time that I got as a freshman [at Paul Short Invitational].”
Dalton came in eighth place at districts in cross country, running a 20:12.42. She took seventh at the East Penn Conference meet in 19:59.30.
Her track and field campaign culminated it with a 13th-place finish in the 3200-meter run at states in 11:21.62. At districts she medaled three times: first in the 1600-meter run (5:03.45), second in 3200-meter run (11:08.85) and third in the 3200-meter relay (9:50.12).
“Track was really good,” Dalton said. “It was the best season that I’ve ever had in both track and cross country. I ended up crushing a lot of my personal records in track, and I also got a lot of medals in leagues and districts.”
A week earlier, DalA A week earlier, Dalton A week earlier earned gold in both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs at leagues. She holds the East Penn Conference record for the 3200-meter run in 11:00, a personal record.
Dalton will continue her running career at Muhlenberg College over the next four years. It’s just another chapter she can credit to those night runs with her mom many years ago.
The school has a sate of the art outdoor facility, which enticed her to join Muhlenberg. But more importantly, she’ll join a college that is widely known for its neuroscience program.
“I chose Muhlenberg because it is one of three liberal arts colleges in the nation that has an independent (not combination of other departments) neuroscience program,” Dalton said. “Muhlenberg has an excellent reputation in pre-med, science and the arts. Muhlenberg embraces students with varied interests and talents.”