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O'Connell graduate finishes fifth in New Balance 5,000 meters

Runner recorded her school-record fastest time at that distance

Talk about finishing in style: Molly Weithman did just that in what might have been her final high-school race.

The Bishop O’Connell High School runner, who graduated from the school in late May, ran one final race representing the Arlington private school at the New Balance Outdoor Track and & Field Championships at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. She placed fifth in the girls high-school-championship 5,000-meter race in 16:56.31, her fastest time ever at that distance and breaking her previous school record at that length.

Weithman closed strong, passing a couple of runners in the final stages of the race to earn a sport on the six-runner victory stand. The winning time was 16:42.9 and the fourth-place finisher ran 16:50.67.

“For a girl high-school runner to break 17 minutes in the 5,000 is a big deal,” O’Connell coach Jim Connor said. “She had a phenomenal race. That probably ends a great high-school career for her. Molly has really been on a tear the last four months, and is back at full strength.”

Weithman began the 2023-24 high-school running season not at full strength early in the cross country season, suffering from aliments, including COVID. By the end of that campaign, Weithman’s health improved to win the Division I private-school state championship.

She continued getting better and faster, winning multiple races and setting more school records, in the 1,600 and 3,200, during the indoor and outdoor track and field campaigns. All of those accomplishments made Weithman the most accomplished female distance runner in O’Connell history.

This fall, Weithman will begin her collegiate running career for the College of William and Mary’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams.