If you haven’t heard of Marlee Starliper, you will now learn about an amazing senior cross country runner from Northern York High School. She broke a 38-year old record last Saturday while setting the all-time Pennsylvania state cross country 5K record. She ran 16:30 to win the Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen Invitational.
In doing so she became the fastest 5K runner in Pennsylvania history. And the 10th fastest in the USA.
She broke there state record set by Mechanicsburg’s legendary runner, Lois Brommer, in 1981 at the Kinney Nationals, a 16:43.
Starliper was a solid two minutes faster than Cedar Crest’s Gweneth Young, who finished second. The gap between Starliper and Young was larger than Young’s gap and the next 17 runners.
The Northern sensation was also faster than all but 13 of the boys that ran the other race in Annville.
Starliper is the two-time reigning PIAA cross country champion and one of the top high school runners in the country, surely to have her pick of the college litter as her recruiting hits the home stretch.
Northern’s girls won the team title with 39 points. Katie Anthony finished fourth in 19:12.9. The Northeastern girls took second, while Central York was eighth.
She also won the Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year award at the yearly PennLive Sports Awards Banquet.
But Saturday was the start at LVC. Here are some facts and figures around her season-opening performance.
It’s the fastest girls’ cross country 5K in Pennsylvania state history by 13 seconds.
It’s the fastest XC 5K in the United States so far this season by 10 seconds. Sydney Thorvaldson of Wyoming has the No. 2 time at 16:40.
Lois Brommer of Mechanicsburg Area held the previous Pennsylvania state record with a 16:43 from the Kinney Cross Country Championships (now the Foot Locker National Championships) in 1981, which was held in Orlando, Florida.
Starliper’s previous XC 5K best was 16:50 from the 2017 Carlisle Invitational.
She would have placed 14th in the boys race at the LVC Dutchmen Invitational.
Starliper’s next two big meets will come at Hershey and then Carlisle in consecutive weeks. She will be off from racing this coming weekend.
At the PIAA Foundation Invitational at Hershey on 9/21, Starliper and her Northern teammates will take on the the state meet course, one that is known for its steep hills. The course record is actually not held by Starliper (yet). Aislinn Devlin’s 17:44 from the PIAA State Championships in 2016 is still the new course’s best. Expect Starliper to make a run at that record in a week and a half’s time.
Carlisle was the site of Starliper’s big breakthrough — a 16:50 in 2017 when she was a sophomore. She didn’t race Carlisle last year, going to Paul Short instead. But Starliper will make her return to Carlisle’s quick course on 9/28. Weather is always a factor with any outdoor race. Last year, due to heavy rains leading up to race day, there was a major water jump in the middle of the course.
If the weather cooperates, though, Starliper could certainly have a shot to top her own new state record.
It was a tremendous start to Starliper’s senior season, and Saturday may just be the beginning of a very special fall.