PHOTO: Crestwood’s Molly DeMarzo. (Zachary Allen Photo)
By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
SHIPPENSBURG – Molly DeMarzo has made trips to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Cross Country Championships in Hershey all three years of high school, returning home with medals twice for 10th– and 17th-place finishes.
Saturday at Shippensburg, DeMarzo will make her PIAA Track and Field Championships debut.
And, the junior distance runner has brought Crestwood teammates with her.
DeMarzo has known individual success as a district, conference and invitational cross country champion, but when it came time to choose events for the May 18 District 2 Class 3A Track and Field Championships, DeMarzo kept teammates in mind.
When the state championships open Saturday morning, DeMarzo will be the first District 2 athlete to compete in the track as the girls 3200-meter run decides the day’s first set of medals.
As high school track’s longest race, the 3200 is a natural for a cross country champion.
Capable of doing more than just winning a single gold medal, DeMarzo passed on challenging herself with the difficult, but prestigious, distance double of running both the 3200 and 1600. She instead dropped down to 800 meters to run the anchor leg of the 3200 relay where she rallied Crestwood to a gold medal, clinching the Shippensburg trip for the four-member team.
“Going into this I figured, I was going to do the mile (1600) and the two mile,” DeMarzo said. “I love the two mile, but I was more than happy to do the mile. Then, my coach brought the idea to me that we had a great opportunity, a shot to win it in the 4 by 8(00).
“They completely left it up to me and they were going to support no matter what, but instead of just looking at myself, we looked at the bigger picture of it being more important for the whole team to go to states instead of just me.”
Emma Guydish, Regina Pirolli and Maggie Kozich joined DeMarzo on the district champion and state-qualifying relay team.
“Everybody ran a great race,” DeMarzo said.
Together, they had Crestwood in second place coming down to about the final 60 meters, when DeMarzo lowered her head and pushed forward, showing she has a bit of a speed burst to go with her noted endurance.
“It was a great race,” DeMarzo said. “We were neck and neck, it just so happened that I pulled away at the finish.
“ … I had to turn the wheels a little bit there. I knew going into the last 200 that if I wanted to go ahead, I could, but there was no need to go that early.”