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SVHS Senior Spotlight: Elizabeth Chikotas

Senior cross country star Elizabeth Chikotas is the most talented distance runner ever to come out of Saucon Valley, according to her coach, Ed Kolosky. She will attend Penn State in the fall, where she plans to continue her running career.

By Richard Hafner

Who would have expected that a petite blonde seventh-grader would develop into Saucon Valley's elite all-time record-setting cross country runner? That is exactly what senior cross country captain Elizabeth Chikotas has accomplished since 2010.

During the 2013 season her blistering winning times set a multitude of area schools' cross country course records. Her average winning time was one minute 56 seconds faster than that of the next runner. As Saucon Valley High School Athletic Director Robert Frey said during the Fall Sports Recognition Program in November, "Liz would cross the finish line and I would wait to see who would finish second."

Liz became the first girl in the 39-year history of the Colonial League to win four Colonial League titles, as she easily won her fourth running the 3.1 mile course at DeSales University in 18:43.09. She went on to add the District XI AA title, running the Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course in a course record time of 18:26. Liz also added the state title to her list, running the 3.1 mile course at the Parkview Country Club golf course in Hershey in 18:43.

Liz was named MVP of the 2013 Colonial League Cross Country All Star team, was selected for the fourth consecutive year to the Express-Times' All-Area Cross Country Team, was named the Express-Times Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2013—an award she also won in 2010—and was the Coordinated Health Athlete of the Week on Oct. 8, 2013.

Although Liz just missed qualifying for the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships in San Diego, she finished the Footlocker Northeast qualifier on the 3.1-mile Van Cortlandt Park course in the Bronx, running the girls seeded race in 18:11.5—just 5.5 seconds behind 10th-place finisher Kirsten Sandreuter of North Yarmouth, Maine. And you can bet that won't slow her down, as she says: “I don't think there are such things as disappointments. You have to focus on the positive. When you are not satisfied with an outcome, learn from your mistakes—see every disappointment as a learning experience.”

Cross country head coach Ed Kolosky had this to say about Elizabeth:

"Elizabeth is the most talented distance runner to ever come out of Saucon Valley, and the entire Lehigh Valley for that matter. I place her up there with the likes of Liberty's Janelle Thomas, Palisades' Krista Plummer and Central Catholic's Frances Koons. And I believe that her best races are still ahead of her once she gets to Penn State and has teammates who are at her ability level and will push her. Back here at Saucon, it was just Elizabeth, and me bellowing out times from my stopwatch. At Penn State, she will be chasing girls who are faster than she is. And she is already very aware of this and fully accepts it. That, in my book, is the mark of a remarkable athlete. That is what Elizabeth Chikotas is to me."

Running has not been Elizabeth's only passion. She has played alto saxophone since fourth grade; she is a member of the Panther concert band; and she has been a member of the swim team, the school spirit club and the National Honor Society.

Liz can also be counted on to turn in a few more outstanding performances during the 2014 track season. During the summer, you will find her at the Hellertown Borough Pool, where she has helped with the learn-to-swim program and has been working as a lifeguard over the past three summers. Biking is a favorite leisure time activity and she also likes to bake. Her favorite food is the sweet potato.

She will enroll at Penn State-University Park, where she will put her favorite subject—math—to good use, as she wants to pursue an engineering degree. Oh yes, and she will compete as a member of the Nittany Lions' cross country and track teams.

Elizabeth has a brother, Andrew, and is the daughter of Bryan and Ann Marie Chikotas.

Photos by Richard Hafner

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