COLUMBUS — Leave it to two Fredericktown freshmen to crash the All-Ohio party on Saturday.
Emily Roberts and Rebekah Haip, two talented members of the girls cross country team, finished on the podium at this year’s OHSAA state cross country championships at Scioto Downs.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen. We (Tammy Berger of Versailles) battled it out from the beginning,” Roberts said.
Roberts’ time of 18:18.5 was good enough for second, and was a personal best. Haip’s time of 18:59.2 was good for seventh. Not bad for a course that typically brings in slow numbers, particularly in the cold weather that November brings.
“Actually, I run better in the cold, so it didn’t bother me,” Haip said.
The team itself finished 14th. They were missing one of their top runners, Halla Jones, due to a flu bug. But it set the team up with high expectations, with four freshmen on this year’s team.
“Hopefully, there will be some more girls moving up, so I think next year will be even better,” Roberts said.
As for the boys, senior Isaac Potes had a single goal as he prepared for the boys race. Don’t finish fifth.
“This isn’t my sophomore year. I can do better,” Potes said.
He didn’t get his chance in 2009. Potes had a hamstring injury that year that hindered him, and he finished 44th. But in 2010, he did do better. At the 1,600 meter point, he led. He couldn’t hold on to that lead, but he did finish third with a time of 15:39.6. The mark came close to his personal best, and it left Potes with a smile on his face.
“I saw that clock and was like, wow! I had no idea,” Potes said.
The course at Scioto Downs is traditionally a slow course. As runners make the first turn, a cold wind hits them in the face. In November, that wind feels a lot worse.
“You get that draft coming, and wow, that is icy!” Potes said following his run. “You freeze up. You just hope you kept your muscles warm before you start, so you don’t get injured.”
Also, there are a number of hills on the grassy part of the course that tend to slow runners. But Potes was looking forward to them.
“That’s the deciding point in the race, those nice, long hills. You ride them up, then ride them down, then up, then down,” Potes said, demonstrating with a waving motion with his hand.
It was a deciding point. By the time the runners re-entered the dirt for the final stretch, Potes had fallen to fifth.