As the final stretch came to a close at the women’s cross-country Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship meet, a camera was needed to determine a winner.
It was the true definition of a photo finish, and at first, Seton Hill University’s Chelsia Poole was crowned as the champion.
Shippensburg University appealed the finish and the photographic evidence made the result clear—Shippensburg University’s Casey Norton was the 2016 individual PSAC Champion. Norton just edged Poole by a tenth of a second. Norton finished with a 6K time of 22:17.9 on Oct. 22.
“I hoped that it would play out differently than it did but I wasn’t sure about it,” Norton said. “I couldn’t find that second gear that I usually have but it just hit me that I didn’t want to lose.”
That determination gave Norton her first individual PSAC Championship. The team also had a successful day, winning the team title by 10 points over rival Bloomsburg University.
“It was pretty amazing,” Norton said. “I’ve obviously never won a PSAC Championship but it was exciting to win with my team as well. I didn’t expect it necessarily, and I didn’t want to go in expecting to win but it was a pretty special experience, and one that I will remember.”
This season has been a big one for the SU cross-country team that came into the season with huge goals that included finishing high at Regionals and earning a spot at the NCAA Championship meet. Winning the PSAC Championship is just the first of many goals to cross off the list.
“I think it is a really great motivator,” Norton said of the victory. “I haven’t won a PSAC Championship as a team here either so it was a big step for us. We have really been building up to that these past three years.”
This season, Norton has been a huge part of SU’s success. Norton has been the top finisher for SU in the last 12 meets she ran in, and continues to push herself toward her goals, as well as the team goal of finishing the season at nationals.
“I am really excited and I think that my team is kind of seeing where we can end up this year in terms of regionals and nationals,” Norton said.
Along with the team’s goals, Norton also has some individual goals. Norton said that she would like to continue running strong times, as well as become an All-American.
She also has had many people help her get to where she is today. She thanks her parents, Scott Norton and Lisa Butler, for their support. Norton’s mother, Lisa, was an All-American cross-country runner at Mansfield University.
“So many people have helped me along the way,” Norton said. “My parents are definitely inspirations, they were both runners in high school and college and my sister, as well as a lot of people have brought me together here. Coach Spence has also been great. I am happy to have all those people in my life who have made a huge impact.”
For Norton and the Raiders, the next stop is regionals. The Raiders will look to defend their performance at PSACs with a strong performance. The Atlantic Regional meet will be held at Slippery Rock University and the women’s race is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m.