Gronbeck earns Eden Christian's 1st WPIAL track gold
Eden Christian senior Lauren Gronbeck won the WPIAL title and was counting on momentum to carry her in the girls 3,200-meter run at the PIAA Class AA track and field championships Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg.
But she lost steam and finished fourth in 11 minutes, 3.83 seconds, a slower time than what she had at the WPIAL individual championship May 19 at Baldwin.
“I would have loved to have finished higher, but it just wasn't my day,” said Gronbeck, 18, of Pine. “Marianne (Abdalah) ran a fantastic race.”
Abdalah, a junior from Vincentian, defended her title in 10:51.60 and ended a two-meet losing streak to Gronbeck.
Abdalah was second to Gronbeck at the WPIAL individual championship and at a WPIAL individual championship qualifier.
Eden Christian coach Eric Huggins was disappointed by the outcome.
“I thought Lauren had a lot of momentum coming into states,” he said.
Gronbeck said she felt “blessed” just to earn the WPIAL crown, the Warriors' first in girls track.
“It was the product of a lot of hard work,” she said. “(Abdalah and I) both ran really tough races, but, in the end, I was able to gut it out.”
Gronbeck was second to Abdalah in the WPIAL and third in the state in the 3,200 last year.
Huggins expects Gronbeck to prosper at Bucknell.
Gronbeck has committed to the Bison's women's team, for the 2016-17 season.
“Her work ethic is what will help her most in college,” Huggins said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.