Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lebo, Potts Surge to the Front of Pack

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lebo, Potts Surge to the Front of Pack

Article excerpt

For the second time in as many years, Kelsey Potts won a race at the Red, White and Blue Classic cross country meet, which takes place annually at Pittsburgh's Schenley Park.

This year's title, however, was a bit more significant as Potts, a Mt. Lebanon High School sophomore, took top honors this past Saturday in the girls' varsity race with a record-setting time of 17 minutes, 47 seconds for the 5,000-meter distance.

"Last year, I won that race by more than a minute," Potts recalled of her winning effort in the 2012 girls junior varsity race. "In [this past Saturday's] race, I improved my time by about 90 seconds."

And she also had plenty of competition.

Vincentian Academy freshman Marianne Abdalah and North Allegheny sophomore Madeleine Davison ran with Potts for the better part of the race until Potts made good use of a technique she has developed since her freshman season.

"I didn't know how to surge last year," she said of the midrace sprinting technique cross country and track runners will use to put distance between themselves and their competitors. [Shaler Area standout] Brianna Schwartz is really good at surging in the middle of the race and able to maintain it until the end. I hope I can do that this year and stay with her."

Potts outlasted Abdalah by two seconds, and Davison broke the previous course record along with the two front-runners with a time of 17:55. The victory gave Potts some satisfaction. In a scrimmage held last month at Hartwood Acres featuring Mt. Lebanon, Hampton and Vincentian, Abdalah defeated Potts by 90 seconds.

Potts wasn't able to find out if her newly developed technique would work against Schwartz because Shaler's standout wasn't entered in this past Saturday's race. But, in what has to be considered a true sense of satisfaction, Potts broke Schwartz's course record of 18:07 that the Shaler junior set in last year's event. …

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