Campbell claims State sixth-place medal in 1,600

By on May 29, 2019
Ephrata’s Mary Campbell glides along during the State 1,600-meter run Saturday at Shippensburg University. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Ephrata’s Mary Campbell glides along during the State 1,600-meter run Saturday at Shippensburg University. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer


A little over a week ago, Mary Campbell thought her 2019 track and field season was over.

Despite shaving nearly seven seconds off her own school record with a time of 5:02.47, the Ephrata junior distance runner had just finished ninth in a loaded District field in the 1,600-meter run. And since only the top eight finishers qualify for the State Meet, it appeared Campbell’s season would end at Districts.

However, about 10 minutes after that race ended, Campbell learned that several of the top finishers were scratching out of States, meaning she would indeed get to compete.

And as it turned out, she made the most of her opportunity.

Campbell not only advanced to Saturday’s finals in Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium, she went out and earned the sixth-place medal with another school record time of 5:02.44.

“It’s so amazing,” Campbell said of her accomplishment moments after earning her first State medal. “I didn’t get a medal at Districts but I did get a State medal…it’s just really an awesome feeling.”

Campbell joined Ephrata teammate and 800 champion Tyler Shue (see above story) as the lone local medal winners at the meet. Others who competed included: Ephrata’s Andrew Foster in the 3200; Ephrata’s 4 x 400 boys relay of Ben Kamide, Stefano Astudillo, Foster and Shue; Cocalico throwers Brock Gingrich in the shot put and Josh Hoover in the discus; and Cocalico sprinter Kaia Martz in the girls 400.

In a race that featured an epic battle between two of the top runners in the country in Greencastle-Antrim’s Taryn Parks and Marlee Starliper of Northern, Campbell settled into her own race.

She got off to a fast start and was in sixth place at the midway point. Then, after falling back a bit in the final lap, she turned it on at the end to close strong and capture her medal.

“I knew I had to take it out (fast) because that’s what I’ve been doing in these big races,” she said. “You got to get a good placement. I feel like I’m closer to the faster girls and maybe some girls will pass me during the race but I feel better (in that position) than to try to chase them down in a big race like this because it’s definitely more fast paced. I definitely knew at the 100 (meter mark) I needed to crank it up and just go into that extra gear and just go for it, and at the end just empty whatever I have left in the tank.”

Campbell, an accomplished high school swimmer who trains a lot on her own during the off-season, said she was just so happy that the work she did put in paid off.

“I’m just so grateful,” she said. “All my coaches believed in me and I just had to have the mindset to believe in myself. When you work hard you get rewarded. I’m just so grateful to have a medal around my neck and know that I can be here and run with the best girls. It gives me a lot of confidence going into next year.”

Incidentally, Parks led the entire race and held off Starliper at the finish to win the gold with a time of 4:37.07. Both Parks and the runner-up Starliper (4:37.45) shattered the previous State record of 4:41.08 set back in 1981 by Kim Gallagher of Upper Dublin.

Foster closed out his high school career, finishing 19th in Saturday’s running of the 3,200 with a time of 1:56.16. Earlier in the meet, he and his 4 x 400 teammates finished fourth in their heat with a time of 3:25.23, which was just off their seeding time of 3:25.04.

Friday, Gingrich competed in the boys shot put where the Cocalico junior finished 13th overall. His best throw of the day came in the prelims where he reached a distance of 50-11.25. Unfortunately, that didn’t earn him a spot in the finals.

Hoover, a senior, also didn’t make it out of preliminaries in the boys discus Saturday afternoon. His best throw of the day was his first when he hit a distance of 148-9 to earn 10th place overall.

And finally, Martz closed out her sophomore season in Friday’s trials as she finished fifth in her heat with a time of 59.37 in the 400 but did not advance to the finals.


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