North Hills junior Mary Malone recently was named to the 2012 All-State Cross Country team by
"Mary has come a very long way over the past year," said Coach John Wilkie. "She has progressed from being a solid performer to becoming one of the elite runners in Pennsylvania, as evidenced by her 5th place finish at the PIAA State Championship meet (she was 40th a year ago), and her First-Team All-State selection."
Malone led the North Hills girl’s cross-country team to a third-place finish at the WPIAL AAA Cross Country Championships by placing second overall.
Mary Malone is following in the footsteps, literally, of older sisters Shannon, a senior, and Margo, who graduated last year and now attends Syracuse University. Shannon's cross country season ended earlier this year due to a stress fracture in her foot.
"Mary's performances this cross country season have been very comparable to sister Margo's performances as a junior," said Wilkie. "And while she has yet to post the track times that sisters Margo and Shannon have, I expect her to have a big breakthrough this coming track season and run some very impressive times, both at 1600-meters and 3200-meters," said Wilkie.
The training is grueling, for most, but appears Mary is the exception.
"Mary's work ethic is exemplary. And not only is she willing to put in all the hard training, she actually loves it," said Wilkie. "Following a 10-mile run which included three very fast two-mile segments at just over 6-minute per mile pace, she finished with a big grin, telling me how much fun it was!"
Wilkie, who retired after decades of coaching the North Hills Men's cross country team, said working with all of the Malone sisters has been a privilege.
"Mary exemplifies the true 'student-athlete'. She is an excellent student as well as a very elite athlete. Most important, she is a young lady of extremely high character, and has earned the respect and admiration of not only her teammates, but her adversaries as well," said Wilkie. "I've been at this a long time, but I can't remember ever enjoying working with any runner more than I enjoy working with Mary."