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Thursday, February 22 Sports

Staples girls DMR places second at outdoor nationals

The Staples girls track team put an emphatic stamp on an outstanding season on Sunday by placing second in the distance medley relay race at the New Balance Outdoor National Championships, which were held in Greensboro, N.C. The quartet of Erica Hefnawy, Olivia Wiener, Tyler Scanlin and Hannah DeBalsi finished second in the race with a time of 11:46.20, nearly seven seconds off the winning time set by West Springfield, Va. (11:39.45).

Hefnawy ran the opening 1,200 meter leg of the race in about 3:40, leaving the Wreckers at second place when Wiener took the baton.

"I think it went alright," Hefnawy said. "The pace was never too blistering; the 1,200 is always a weird distance. "I run the 1,000, which is already a weird one to begin with, and the 800, which is in between. We went out a little bit slow and tried to press a little bit."

Wiener sprinted into the lead on the backstretch of her 400 meters, but West Lafayette (Ind.) retook the lead as Scanlin received the baton. Scanlin took the lead during her 800 meters before DeBalsi got the baton.

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West Springfield, which ran the first three legs between fifth and second place, had an ace in the hole in senior Caroline Alcorta. Alcorta passed DeBalsi as the final leg (1,600 meters) began, and although DeBalsi stayed behind Alcorta for the first two-plus laps, Alcorta pulled away down the stretch and the Wreckers settled for second.

"We knew that (Alcorta) had won a couple of races," DeBalsi said. "We knew we had our work cut out."

The time run by the Wreckers was nearly identical to the one they ran in finishing third at indoor nationals (11:45.79) in March. The conditions were less conducive to a fast time under the warm North Carolina sun.

On Saturday, DeBalsi won the 2-mile event with a time of 10:09.08.

"It was really awesome, it was the most exciting win in my life," DeBalsi said. "Winning at nationals is special."

"I kind of expect, every time we go into a race, her to do great things," Hefnawy said of her teammate. "It's kind of insane to have someone nationally ranked on your team with you every day."

The DMR race was the final in the career of Scalin, the lone senior of the quartet.

"Hannah and I were just discussing that we wanted to win for Tyler," Hefnawy said. "We all put our best foot forward and we did the best we could."