P.O. Female Athlete of the Week: Abby Yourkavitch
If there's one thing Abby Yourkavitch has made clear in her short time at Chambersburg, it is not to count her out for anything.
She overcame a lengthy deficit in the anchoring two laps of the girls 4x800 relay, and busted out of the gate in the 1,600 for a decisive victory, more than 12 seconds before the next runner crossed the line, to claim two gold medals at the Tim Cook Memorial Invitational on Saturday. She is this week's Public Opinion Female Athlete of the Week.
"I was very impressed with her mile, but from a performance standpoint, I was more impressed with her anchor of our relay," Chambersburg girls coach Chris Monheim said. "She not only made up a bunch of space, but ran the best 800 time of her career and she's really starting to show she has quite a big of leg speed."
With a time of 9:48.58, the Chambersburg 4x800 relay qualified for districts.
"Seeing where we were at, there was a decent gap, and I needed to try really hard to make up that space and win it for us," Yourkavitch said.
Her 1,600 time of 5:06.37 broke the meet record, and her 800 time in the final leg of the relay was a personal record, but Yourkavitch credits her career times to the footsteps heard behind her in each race.
Watch the best track events from the Tim Cook Invitational with interviews from athletes.
Carlisle's Meg Lebo beat Yourkavitch in the 1,600 last week in a dual meet, and, with Lebo seeded No. 1, she was not about to let her get the win on her home track.
"I definitely wanted to play into my strengths," said Yourkavitch, the No. 2-seeded runner in the 1,600. "Last time I raced her I didn't have my best game on and I wanted to win the race, so I tried to make a gap early. I played to my strengths rather than hers, but had she not been there, and knowing what she's capable of, I don't think I would have finished as strong."
Yourkavitch now holds the Tim Cook cross country course record, and the Tim Cook meet record in the 1,600, an accomplishment fitting of the late distance runner's name.
"Tim worked with a lot of really elite runners and Abby is certainly putting her name all over our record books," Monheim said. "He was a distance oriented coach, and these kids are doing a great job of keeping the tradition that Tim spend years building."
Abby Yourkavitch, Chambersburg
Sport: Track & Field
Events: Girls 4x800 relay, 1,600 meter race
Parents: Mary and Brad Yourkavitch
Other interests: She also runs cross country.
Surprising fact: During cross country season, Yourkavitch wore a pair of lucky socks, which she still has, but for track season, she wears a lucky blue bow in her hair to match her 4x800 relay team.
Three people most want to have dinner with: Professional distance runners Neely Spence, Jordan Hasay and Mary Kane.
Statistics: Yourkavitch came home from the Tim Cook Invitational with two gold medals, one for her come-from-behind anchor performance in the girls 4x800 relay, which set a personal record for the 800, and another in a meet-record run in the 1,600, clocking in a 5:06.37 ... Yourkavitch now holds the Tim Cook cross country course record from the fall, and the 1,600 Tim Cook meet record.