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O'Connell senior runs three distance races in state meet

Trio of races were completed in three-and-a-half hours

What began as maybe a far-fetched idea and suggestion became a satisfying success story for Molly Weithman.

At the recent Virginia private-school girls state track and field championship, the Bishop O’Connell High School runner completed a grueling triple. The senior ran three distance races – the 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200 runs – over a three-and-a-half-hour period. Weithman finished a close second in the first two events, the 1,000 (3:04.23) and 1,600 (5:05.3), then won the last and longest 3,200 (10:58.4).

For that performance, Weithman was chosen as the Girls Athlete of the Meet.

“It was really hard, but it was so fun to do and I was excited to give it a try,” Weithman said. “Initially I didn’t expect much out of it. I knew I wanted to do well in all three, and I probably did better than I thought.”

Other top high-school runners have run those same races during one-day meets over the years. O’Connell coach Jim Connor suggested the idea of attempting the triple to Weithman in recent days; she thought it over, liked the challenge and agreed to make the attempt.

“She ran great and handled it all with a lot of poise,” Connor said. “She had a big kick and almost won the 1,000, she had her best indoor time in the 1,600, then set a good pace and know one could stay with her in the 3,200.”

 Weithman said she was well-hydrated prior to the meet. During the competition she snacked on pretzels to stay fueled, and between races jogged for a couple of miles to stay loose.

“I felt good between the races,” Weithman said. “In the final race [3,200], I was pretty tired, so my plan was to fight for second. But after the first mile I still felt pretty good and decided to push it, and no one stayed with me.”

By winning the 3,200, the state championship was Weithman’s fifth overall in her high school career, including two cross-country titles in 2023 and 2022 and three straight indoor 3,200 crowns.

Weithman has two more indoor meets to run this season, conference and national competitions. She will not attempt to run all three races in those.

After that, she will prepare for the outdoor spring season for O’Connell, then, in the fall, Weithman will begin her running career at the College of William and Mary.