Alcorta stays ahead of footsteps for second West Springfield DMR national title


The footsteps were there, and West Springfield anchor Caroline Alcorta knew they weren’t going away. In fact, they were getting closer.

Despite the efforts of some heavy-hitting 1,600-meter anchors, Alcorta and her Virginia teammates held the lead and ruled the day in the girls’ distance medley relay. They covered the 4,000 meters in a new US#1 time of 11 minutes, 43.39 seconds.

“I didn’t want to take any chances,” Alcorta said of possibly backing off her fast pace that moved her through 800 in 2:17. “I knew if I slowed down, I would probably slow down too much. I didn’t want to lose momentum.

“Even though I was going out fast, I didn’t feel the burn quite yet. (It was a) might as well keep going kind of thing.”

With the opening 1,200 by senior Katie Kennedy (3:37.33), the winners followed with freshman Kiera Bothwell with a 400 (63.13) and sophomore Reagan Bustamante carrying an 800 (2:15.36) and handing off to Alcorta (4:47.57). The only hiccup in the winners’ performance was a jumbled first exchange that allowed Unionville, Pa., to lead into the second leg.

“I was so anxious,” Alcorta said of her emotions prior to getting the baton. “They got us in perfect position. Right in the front. I can do this.

“I was counting where each team was. It sounds more analytical than it probably should when you are about to race. I was worrying about that.”

Putting the pressure on West Springfield during the final eight laps were Haddonfield, N.J., and Staples, Conn., and their anchors, freshman Brianna Gess and sophomore Hannah Debalsi. All three anchors earned All-American honors in cross country last fall, and all were moving fast on the banked oval.

“I just had to go if I wanted to catch the girls in front of me,” said Debalsi, who was credited with the fastest anchor of 4:46.16. “I PRed in the 800 and the 1,000 in that race because I’m not too fast.

“I had to. I had to do this for my team so maybe I went out too fast but it all worked out in the end.”

Debalsi put Staples into second with about 600 meters left, but she was not able to hold the position. Gess and her 4:48.64 leg lifted Haddonfield to the runner-up spot and painstakingly close to the winners, covering the four legs in 11:43.94 compared to Staples and its 11:45.79.

Last year’s champion Benjamin Cardozo of New York sliced a little more than 10 seconds off its 2014 best to finish fourth in 11:52.07. The top four teams all moved to the top of the DMR yearly list.

The other two medalists also broke 12:00 as Patriots TC (Freehold) of New Jersey was US#6 11:56.13, while early leader Unionville moved to US#7 11:59.67 by dropped its season best by almost 10 seconds.


Championship Girls DMR (View Official Results)

F Distance Medley Relay - Finals
Place Overall Team Result Heat  
1 1 West Springfield 11:43.39 2  
2 2 Haddonfield Mem. HS 11:43.94 2  
3 3 Staples High School 11:45.79 2  
4 4 Benjamin Cardozo 11:52.07 2  
5 5 Freehold Twp HS 11:56.13 2  
6 6 Unionville 11:59.67 2  
7 7 Saline 12:00.48 2  
8 8 Ocean City HS 12:02.51 1  
9 9 La Salle Academy 12:04.27 2  
10 10 Mamaroneck 12:04.43 2  
11 11 Warwick Valley 12:12.38 2  
12 12 Newton South High School 12:14.68 1  
13 13 Randolph HS 12:16.37 2  
14 14 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 12:16.71 1  
15 15 St. John the Baptist 12:17.11 1  
16 16 Green Hope 12:17.64 1  
17 17 Cardinal O'Hara 12:19.67 2  
18 18 Shenendehowa 12:21.50 1  
19 19 Corning 12:22.32 1  
20 21 Hopkinton High School 12:31.75 1  
21 23 West Genesee 12:35.52 1  
22 24 Ocean Lakes 12:37.08 1  
23 25 Osbourn Park 12:38.16 1  
24 26 Saratoga Springs 12:39.38 2  
25 27 Middletown North HS 12:40.88 1