Runners to Watch: Hannah DeBalsi

During the last few days, MileSplit CT featured the top schools from each class in the Nutmeg State. In the coming weeks, we'll highlight the individuals to keep an eye on for the upcoming 2015 campaign. Can Staples' Hannah DeBlasi finish off her outstanding career with an unprecedented fourth straight state crown? Can Tolland win its third consecutive class title and fifth straight state crown. You be the judge by some of its talented harriers who will be returning to the trails?

We begin our Runners to Watch series with the girls. Thanks to MARY ALBI for writing the bios of our athletes.

Hannah DeBalsi

Staples, senior

The rising Staples High senior enters her final year on the trails as arguably the best female distance runner in state history. She hasn't lost an in-state race since her freshman season and comes into the fall as the two-time Class LL, State Open and New England champion.

DeBalsi was coming back from an injury last fall, slowing down and altering her training considerably, which was noticeable in her times and speed.

But she still managed to separate herself as the top runner in the state and northeast. She finished second at the Foot Locker Northeast Championships and then placed fifth at the Foot Locker Championships (17:47) to earn All-American status for the second straight year.

This past spring DeBalsi peaked at the right time, finishing in third place in the 2 mile at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, running 10:03.24., the third best time in the nation.

An injury-free summer and strong training has many wondering, what can she do in her final cross country season? If her health and training stay on the same page, watch out. She's in a good position to contend for the top spot in the nation.