Pine-Richland’s Natalie McLean follows PIAA title with Georgetown commitment

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Sunday, November 20, 2022 | 11:01 AM


A few weeks ago Natalie McLean realized a dream that was four years in the making and made Pine-Richland history.

McLean became the first Rams runner to win a PIAA cross country championship Nov. 5 in Hershey.

“Ever since I went to states my freshman year, I told myself that I wanted to win a state championship,” McLean said. “It was really surreal crossing the finish line. I was really tired afterwards, but after it all set in, it was an amazing feeling. I put in a lot of work over the summer and during the season, so it was great to see it all come to fruition.”

McLean, a senior, finished with a time of 18:46.1, winning by nearly six seconds. It was an impressive jump from finishing 84th at states last year.

She said the state championship course is her favorite, citing the rolling hills throughout the course, but the biggest factor in her win was determination.

“Knowing it was my last high school race in Pennsylvania was a lot of motivation,” McLean said. “I wasn’t trying to put a lot of pressure on myself, but I knew that I wanted to win and that it was a possibility with where my training was at. I just went out there and gave it everything I had.”

Five days after securing a state gold, McLean signed her letter of intent to continue her running career at Georgetown.

McLean committed to Georgetown in October.

She’ll study neurobiology at Georgetown with the goal of advancing into medical school to become a pediatrician.

“When I went on my visit, I clicked well with the team,” McLean said. “I liked the campus, the coaches and really everything about it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the perfect fit for me. I committed a week or two after I took my visit there.

“I had been going through the recruiting process for about a year, so it was really great to make the decision. I’m really excited that I have the opportunity to run at Georgetown.”

McLean was one of 15 Pine-Richland student athletes to participate in the November national signing day.

Others who signed letters of intent were Ava Boyd (Michigan State/soccer), Stephanie Cornelius (St. John’s/soccer), Kaili Doctor (North Carolina A&T State/volleyball), Mary Dziubek (Kutztown/lacrosse), Anthony Ferraro (Edinboro/wrestling), Caroline Gentile (Lafayette/lacrosse), Owen Henne (Seton Hill/baseball), Asher Landis (Hobart and William Smith/rowing), Kyriaki Tziovannis (Duquesne/rowing), Gianna Koss (Kentucky/soccer), Emma Van Meter (Pitt/soccer), Madelyn Laird (Shippensburg/basketball), Gianna Rotelli (Louisville/track and field) and Hannah Young (Mercyhurst/lacrosse).

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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