Logan St. John Kletter is a teen with a name long on letters who is also long on talent.

St. John Kletter, a junior at Mt. Lebanon, is the daughter of two former collegiate standouts. Erin St. John and Todd Kletter ran at Penn State in the 1990s, and Logan decided to take the last names of both. Erin was an NCAA indoor track All-American and twice an All-Big Ten selection in cross country.

Yes, running is surely in St. John Kletter’s blood, and it has already shown with her having a WPIAL cross country title and a state indoor track title on her resume. Dad won a PIAA track championship at Mt. Lebanon three decades ago, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if his daughter does the same next month.

St. John Kletter is one of the top distance runners in the state. At last week’s Butler Invitational, she claimed a title in the 3,200-meter run with an exceptional time of 10 minutes, 25.58 seconds. It was a personal record and the top time in the state this season, according to PA MileSplit, and it also broke the previous meet record set two years earlier by Moon great Mia Cochran, a five-time PIAA track champion who now runs at the University of Arkansas.

“It was an amazing race,” said St. John Kletter, whose time was the sixth fastest in WPIAL history. “Knowing it was over a minute faster than I ran last spring and that I beat Mia’s record, it was really exciting to me.”

It marked the first time St. John Kletter had competed in an outdoor invitational since Butler last year when she finished sixth in the 3,200 after running a time of 11:26.98. St. John Kletter suffered a foot injury during indoor season last year. She gave it some rest before returning but ended up only doing a few races before shutting the door on her outdoor season. She said she was initially diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but that it was eventually determined to be a condition called Baxter’s nerve entrapment.

The injury was undoubtedly a setback for St. John Kletter, who had flashed her potential as a freshman by notching top-four performances in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at the WPIAL Class 3A championships. But it didn’t derail her for long. A strong cross country season saw her claim her first WPIAL championship, and a busy indoor season was highlighted by her first-place finish in the mile at the PTFCA indoor championships.

“It feels great to know what I’ve already accomplished, but there are some goals that I’ve missed just from not being 100%,” she said.

But St. John Kletter has been hitting on all cylinders this season after easing her way into things following an indoor season that included lots of traveling. Her stops included the New Balance Nationals in Boston, Millrose Games in New York City and The VA Showcase in Virginia Beach.

“Logan has built off a really good indoor season,” Mt. Lebanon coach Oscar Shutt said. “She took a little breather at the start of outdoors and has really taken off. She ran a solo mile under five minutes at our one section meet and she just had a phenomenal race at Butler. She was smooth and broke Mia’s record.”

St. John Kletter helped Mt. Lebanon win a section championship and will try to assist the Blue Devils in earning a bid to the WPIAL team championships when they compete in a semifinal Tuesday at Canon-McMillan.

But first, St. John Kletter will be in Philadelphia on Friday to compete in the prestigious Penn Relays for the first time, an event her mom took part in 25 years ago. St. John Kletter is one of 14 entrants in the High School Girls Mile Run Championship, which is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Cochran placed third in the race a season ago after running a 4:47.17. St. John Kletter’s career best in the mile is 4:53.21.

“I’m so excited,” said St. John Kletter. “This has been a race I’ve had my eye on for a while. Just getting to do it and race in the mile means a lot. I have looked at the girls in the race. They are some really talented women. I’m going to try to put myself in the mix and hopefully get a new PR.”

Shutt said that St. John Kletter will likely focus on running the 1,600 and 3,200 at postseason meets, and that she might run the 800 next week at the Baldwin Invitational. No matter the event, Shut said he likes St. John Kletter’s chances.

“She just has a drive and a passion that most people don’t have, and the talent behind it,” he said. “So when you combine the talent with the drive and passion, she can accomplish a lot of amazing things.”

Among St. John Kletter’s biggest goals this season are winning WPIAL and PIAA titles. They would be the first of her outdoor track career, but not the first among her family’s. Todd Kletter was on Mt. Lebanon’s WPIAL- and PIAA-championship-winning 3,200 relay teams in 1990. Kletter’s medals now hang in his daughter’s room as inspiration.

St. John Kletter has a long list of college suitors. She’s already made official visits to North Carolina, Virginia and Furman, adding that she is still figuring things out and is not close to making a decision. She has a 3.9 GPA and hopes to one day be a physical therapist.

The WPIAL has become a hotbed for talented distance runners in recent years, and St. John Kletter is currently one of the hottest stars. The expectations may be large, but she said she’s not trying to look at things as if she has anything to prove.

“I know there’s pressure on me,” she said, “but I just want to run my best and do everything I can to get better each day.”

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.