Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On Track for an All-American Reunion Former High School Rivals Will Meet at NCAA Championship Meet

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On Track for an All-American Reunion Former High School Rivals Will Meet at NCAA Championship Meet

Article excerpt

Elaina Balouris and Margo Malone go to colleges more than 500 miles apart, compete in different conferences and until very recently, had never even faced off against one another in a collegiate race.

But when the two step up to the line for the start of the 10,000- meter run tonight at the NCAA Track and Field National Championships in Eugene, Ore., they will do so as unofficial teammates.

Balouris, a senior at the College of William and Mary and a graduate of Hampton High School, and Malone, a sophomore at Syracuse University and a graduate of North Hills High, spent a majority of their high school careers dominating track and field and cross country meets in the WPIAL. And while they were raking in honors, they also became close friends.

"It's funny, because I'm usually pretty competitive when it comes to racing, but with her, we have always just been friends," Balouris said.

But when the two headed their separate ways for college, it seemed unlikely that they would meet up again on the track. Rather than lose contact, however, they continued to talk and even train together in the offseason.

"In high school we raced against each other a lot, but we actually also trained together," Malone said. "We'd meet for long runs on the weekends or work out together.

"After [Balouris] graduated and went to William and Mary, we would still work out together in the summer time."

During her time at William and Mary, Balouris has become one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the school's track program. She holds the school record in the indoor 3,000 meters, the second-fastest all-time marks in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and has been named the Colonial Athletic Association Athlete of the Year three times.

Her second-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA East preliminary May 29 in Jacksonville, Fla. …

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