All the signs were there. Freshman Karrie Baloga (Cornwall) had been racking up the wins all season across the Freshman 1.5 distances. Her marks were sometimes 2mins ahead of the next best finisher, when the margins for those gaps were much smaller than that of a 5k effort. For the first time this season, Baloga ran up at the Varsity distance, and her debut didn't disappoint.
At the Paul Short Invite in Pennsylvania, Baloga dropped a 16:59.7 winning mark to drop the field, including PA Talent Lydia Russell (Friends Central), who ran 16:18 on the track last Spring to take third in New Balance Nationals. Not only that, but Baloga's mark erased the former Course Record held by Aislinn Ryan (Warwick), who ran 17:03 in 2005. The year prior to that, Ryan won the Foot Locker National Title. Second on that list, was Aisling Cuffe in 2009, at 17:06. Cuffe also won the Foot Locker National Title, and just so happens to be an alumnus of Cornwall HS too.
Most impressive about this mark? Baloga is especially young for her grade, either just turning 14, or soon about too.
She most notably set the 8th Grade Steeple State Record last spring, running 6:43 at the State Meet. She also led Cornwall in their first State Title in XC last fall. She was billed as the fastest freshman heading into the season, and has lived up to that billing. We caught up with her for a Workout Wednesday this Summer, which you can catch below.