Troy's Casey Norton has special history at District IV Championships
Four years ago, Troy's Casey Norton headed to Bloomsburg for her first District 4 championships as a bit of an unknown.
Norton was a quality runner her freshman year, but she wasn't among the best in the NTL yet.
That day, Norton found an extra speed for the final half mile, blowing by runners as she got herself to states for the first time.
On Thursday Norton headed back to Bloomsburg. No longer an unknown, Norton entered this year's race as one of the favorites and by the time the day was done she had captured her first district title.
"It is a place where dreams happen," Norton said. "Freshman year I was second on the team and I pulled out a great race. Every since I have been surprised to see what has happened."
Troy coach Gary Ward sees a lot of similarities between Thursday and four years ago.
"Today after 2.5 half miles she really took off," Ward said. "Her freshman year the last half mile she passed maybe five or six runners to get to states.
"Today after about 2.5 miles she just went. Erika (Huffman the runner-up) is a great runner. Casey just turned it on the last half mile."
On Thursday Norton was able to go out and make a little bit of history.
"It's been a big thing we have talked about, that no one has every qualified four times at Troy for states," Norton said. "It's special to be the first one."
When her high school career began there was one thing that people knew about Norton.
They knew she was the younger sister of Lauren Norton, a state qualifier and college standout runner for the University of Rochester.
"I love my sister and I'm so glad I have been able to make her proud of me and she's doing great in her last season of college cross country."
Norton knows when she started her sister's success was something she and younger runners looked up to and tried to achieve.
Now, she hopes that younger runners are looking up to her in the same way.
"I want to be a role model," she said. "Some of the younger girls on the team look up to me and I hope I am a role model to them. It feels nice to not stand in my sister's shadow and to be my own person now."
For Norton, Thursday was the perfect way to wrap up her senior year.
"It's a great end to my last year," Norton said.
Now as a four-time state qualifier, a state medalist, a district champion Norton heads to Hershey for one last PIAA meet.
"It is bittersweet," she said. "I know it's my last race, but it's very exciting."
While next week will be the last time Norton runs for the Troy Trojans it won't be the last time she ever runs a cross country race.
"I have looked at some schools," she said.
Now, armed with her new title as District 4, Class A champion, Norton is excited to go back to those coaches and let them know how she did.
"I can't wait to tell the coaches how I did," she said. "It will be really nice to tell them I am a district champion."