COLUMBUS — Two athletes ended up on the podium in the finals for their events at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Fredericktown’s Emily Roberts finally had her chance to compete after waiting more than a week after regionals. Roberts finished sixth in the girls 1,600-meter run although, for awhile, she appeared to compete for the gold medal.
Roberts stayed with the pack during the first two laps of the four-lap race. As the third lap began, Roberts made her move on the outside and began passing people. By the end of the lap, she was running alongside another runner for third place.
“I just kind of hung back for the first part,” Roberts said. “Then, around the second lap, I got tripped a little. There’s a lot of jostling around everywhere.”
The other runners saved up enough for one final surge on the last straightaway, knocking Roberts down to sixth. But her time (5:13.26) still bested her qualifying time at regionals by more than seven seconds.
“I wish more of my team was here,” Roberts said. “Rebecca (Haip) is here, though she’s not running with me. She’s really helped me a lot ... she’s been pushing me. The boys have really pushed me. I wouldn’t be here without any of them.”
The freshman plans to spend this summer continuing her training as she prepares for cross country season in the fall. She plans to be right back in Columbus for the 2012 track finals.
“Next year, I want to PR,” Roberts said, “and not get too cocky.”
It was a good day for Roberts’ teammate, Garrett Gatton, who was the only local athlete to compete in two events in Saturday’s finals. Gatton reached the podium by finishing eighth in the boys 110-meter hurdles (15.69).