Special thanks to Diane Grahm-Henry for help with this story. The women’s race followed promptly after the men’s and did not disappoint. We had our deepest field of high school and junior race walkers ever. The standard which used to stand at 31-32 minutes is now 27:45 to qualify. The faster junior times are also squeezing out the open competition. We only had two open athletes quality and one had to DNS due to a family emergency. The reality is that with many of the elites skipping Penn for the Pan Am Cup, the juniors were faster than most of the open applicants. As we always viewed this race as a development race for young walkers building into a distance race, we gave preference to the juniors/high school walkers and they delivered!
Luckily for us, the open women were well represented with Olympian Maria Michta-Coffey putting on a solo show.
Olympian Maria Michta-Coffey took the field out in a 51 second first 200m.
It wasn't long before she shook the field off.
Maria Michta-Coffey leading junior Rachelle DeOrbeta (only 15 years old!) from Puerto Rico.
Michta-Coffey continues to pour it on, she finished her first 1K in 4:22.
DeOrbeta schools the rest of the junior field.
Charmaine DeOrbeta (#5), Ashleigh Resch (#6) Katherine Newhoff (#24) and Meaghan Podlaski (#18) in the first pack of juniors and high school walkers.
Katie Michta (#7) following in odler sister Maria's shoes.