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Balouris, Malone go from WPIAL competitors to NCAA championships

Written by Mike White on .

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In the fall of 2009, North Hills High School's Margo Malone and Hampton's Elaina Balouris finished 2-3 in the WPIAL Class AAA cross-country championships. Next week, they will go against each other again - with an NCAA title on the line.

Balouris and Malone have qualified for the 10,000-meter final at the NCAA Division I championships, which are held in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14. Balouris is a senior at William & Mary and Malone a sophomore at Syracuse. They both qualified after running in the East regional last week in Jacksonville, Fla.

Elaina BalourisBalouris (pictured, courtesy of William & Mary athletics) is seeded No. 2 for the NCAA championships. She finished second at the East regional with a time of 33 minutes, 13.54 seconds, just behind first-place finisher Erin Flinn of Michigan, who ran a 33:13.46. Flinn is the No. 1 seed.

Malone is seeded eighth for the NCAA championships. She finished eighth at the East regional with a time of 33:55.66.

 Balouris has had an outstanding career at William & Mary, earning All-American honors in track and cross country. She finished 11th at the NCAA cross-country championships in the fall. Last spring, she finished 10th in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA track and field championships.

This is Malone's first time at the NCAA championships for track or cross country. She has a sister, Shannon, who is a distance runner at the University of Virginia. Mary Malone, a senior at North Hills, will run next year at Syracuse. 

Back in 2009, Margo Malone finished second and Balouris third at the WPIAL cross-country championships. Malone (pictured) finished one second ahead of Balouris. Norwin's Jen Gigliotti won the race.

What makes this Malone-Balouris story a little more interesting is the ties they have to each other. They attended schools only nine miles apart. And their fathers knew each other while attending North Hills High School. Paul "Moses" Malone was a 1981 graduate of North Hills while Dean "The Dream" Balouris graduated in 1980.

More North Hills in NCAA meet

I bet there haven't been too many times in recent years where a WPIAL school has two athletes at the NCAA track and field championships. But North Hills will have two this year.

Besides Malone participating in the 10,000 meters for women, North Hills grad Alex McCune will compete in the decathlon. McCune, who attends Akron, is seeded sixth for the event.

McCune (pictured at Akron) is an interesting story. He wasn't recruited much as a hurdler and long jumper at North Hills. He went to Akron and made the track and field team as a walk-on. A few years later, he is one of the tops in the country in the decathlon.

Flynn returns for "setters" clinic

Baldwin graduate Jen Flynn was once the Post-Gazette Female Athlete of the Year and is one of the best volleyball players ever from the WPIAL. She will return to the Pittsburgh area to run a clinic for "setters" this Thursday at the Pittsburgh Volleyball Center in Emsworth.

Flynn was a standout player at Ohio State who later played on the U.S. National Team.

For information on the clinic, go to www.pittelite.org

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