In a track meet, the 1,600-meter run is the fifth event on the track and the 3,200-meter run happens five events later.
At the April 12 Butler Invitational, Shaler Area sophomore Brianna Schwartz sandwiched those five events with wins in the 1,600 and the 3,200. Her times (4:54.15 and 10:50.51, respectively) earned her state No. 1 rankings from PennTrackXC.com in both events.
The Shaler girls' team also finished first out of 29 teams in the meet's team standings with 84 points. Woodland Hills was a distant second at 48.
The Butler Invitational took place in cool temperatures and turbulent winds. But so had most of Schwartz's training this season.
Schwartz is part of a contingent of elite runners who train outdoors at North Park throughout the year. After her fall cross country season, Schwartz continued to train for running events instead of playing basketball, her winter sport of choice in years past.
"Various people were asking me if the wind was really bad [at Butler] and I didn't really notice it after training through the winter and all this crazy weather ... definitely deciding not to do basketball was a good decision. I got a lot of winter training in, and it helped me to improve," Schwartz said.
The North Park running contingent consists of many high school runners who strive to be the best.
Alongside Schwartz, North Hills' Malone sisters -- Shannon and Mary -- as well as Hampton's Gina Alm can often be found running.
At Butler, Mary Malone and Alm were also Schwartz's toughest competitors. Alm placed second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:04.00, and Malone placed third at 5:08.00. Malone also was the runner-up to Schwartz in the 3,200-meter race, recording an 11:13.68.
Schwartz commented on continually transitioning between having Alm and Malone as "training buddies" and also racing against them.
"It's kind of weird," Schwartz said.
"But we just push each other and I think it relaxes us that we're running together. I think getting a good time is really all that we're looking for ... It's not like we're going to get mad at each other if one of us beats the other."
Schwartz agreed that competitions with Alm and Malone were similar to playing a video game with friends. You want to win, but the game results don't change the friendship.
"Gina and Mary are close finds of mine," Schwartz said. "We just really help each other -- going on 10-mile runs is not too fun by yourself."
One other remarkable aspect of Schwartz's Butler performance was the negative splits for each increment of her 3,200-meter race. Schwartz ran the first and second 800s in 2:46 and 2:45, respectively. Her last 800 took 2:34.
The fast increments had actually been well-planned by Schwartz and her coaches.
"Going into the race we were planning on 5:30 [per mile]," Schwartz said. "I just felt really good, training-wise."
Schwartz explained that she balances long runs on the weekends with track workouts during the week. It's the only way to transition from the all-terrain 5Ks of cross country to the no-holds-barred shorter distances of track.
"Speed she'll continue to work on," Shaler girls coach Dave Interthal said. "Stamina she has."
It's a big jump to make from cross country to track, but Schwartz embraces the diverse-event environment of track and field. The Shaler girls track team, which competed in the WPIAL Class AAA team finals in 2012, have returned clutch athletes in a wide variety of events.
"Coming to the track team, it's really exciting to know it's not just individually [measured]," Schwartz said. "You have people counting on you to score points."
Interthal said Schwartz's great achievements are entirely about helping her team. At last year's PIAA track and field championships, Schwartz elected to run for Shaler's 3,200-meter relay squad. The event took place just three events before finals in the 1,600. Interthal felt Schwartz's participation in the relay may have cost her a chance to place in the mile.
"She's not one of those kids who will stand in the front of the bus and holler," Interthal said. "But she works harder than everyone else."