Their sheer boredom?
Well, that latter description sums up the feelings of Kent Roosevelt senior distance runner David Kelly, one of three Rough Riders to win individual event titles at Saturday morning's Kent Roosevelt Division I district finals.
After the first 100 meters of the 3,200, Kelly realized he was already running by himself and basically put it on autopilot the rest of the way, winning easily in a time of 9:41.1 to earn a berth in next week's Austintown Fitch regional.
Barely five minutes after the race, Kelly showed no signs of being winded nor did a single bead of sweat appear anywhere on his thin frame. It was as if he had just spent the previous 10 minutes lounging carelessly at poolside rather than briskly running two miles around a track under the late-May sun.
"It was slow," said the Kent State-bound Kelly. "It was boring. I went out the first mile and ran the pace I wanted to, but after that it got boring and I lost track of what I was doing.
"After the first 100 meters I was by myself. I was expecting them to run with me for the first mile _ at least somebody _ but nobody did. It felt like a two-mile repeat in practice, like I was running by myself."
Kelly wasn't the only Rough Rider running alone in a distance race on Saturday. Sophomores Erin Anderson and Jen Hollinger finished 1-2 in the 1,600, crossing the finish line well ahead of the rest of the field, while Hollinger won the 3,200 a full 26 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Anderson and Hollinger were among a bevy of runners who helped the Roosevelt girls to a second-place team finish with 77 points, right behind district champion Bedford's 82. Stow was sixth with 40.
Bedford also won the boys title, edging Western Reserve Conference champ Solon 68-64. Roosevelt was fourth with 50 points, while Stow tied Akron Firestone for sixth with 39.
Kelly, second to former Hudson star Adam Smith in the 3,200 at last year's district, was all dressed up but had nobody to run with on Saturday. He eventually finished about four seconds ahead of Stow's Don Beesing, but the time differential was misleading: Kelly had stopped running against the clock shortly into the race, and the outcome had been decided long before he crossed the finish line.
But he realizes it likely will be much different in the regionals.
"I know next week I'll have to run about 20 seconds faster," said Kelly, a state qualifier in the 3,200 a year ago. "My best time is 9:26, and I'll probably have to run 9:20. If I prepare right and I'm comfortable next week, I should be fine.
"Next week will be a good race. I expect to run with people the full eight laps."
Also advancing to the regionals for the Roosevelt boys (the top four in each event qualify) are David Mentlow in the 100 (second, 11.5); Marc Mitalski in the 110 hurdles (fourth, 15.1); and the 4x100 relay team of Millon Blackshear, Sam Moore, Mentlow and Mitalski (third, 43.8).
The Rough Riders had several heartbreaking near-misses: Jon Mikusa (1,600); Mitalski (300 hurdles); Aaron Emig (800); Peter Robison (3,200); and the 4x400 squad of Blackshear, Moore, Nick Jones and Mentlow all placed fifth, a mere one spot from moving on to the regionals. Also, Ofer Barniv placed sixth in the 800.
"We had five fifth-places, but I'm not frustrated," said Roosevelt boys coach Aaron Carlton. "I'm pretty pleased overall with the kids who got out. It's pretty tough for kids to run their best times and get fifth and not move on, but that's the way it goes."
Botzman was ecstatic with his girls' runner-up finish, primarily for two reasons: it was the Roosevelt girls' highest district team finish in nearly a decade, and his team bested WRC nemesis Solon, which won last week's conference meet. The Comets finished third with 65 points Saturday.
"We defeated Solon and Shaker Heights," said Botzman. "I want our girls to think they can run with anybody at this level. We qualified a lot of people, and that's really what made me happy. We qualified somebody in every event from the 200 on up; we've got nine girls going on to regionals."
In the 1,600, Anderson and Hollinger were in a footrace down the stretch before Anderson won in 5:15.6, Hollinger right behind in 5:15.7.
"That's just how we are," said Anderson, who also qualified in the 800, taking third in 2:17.7. "We just want to push each other _ that's how we get better. It's been that way between us since middle school. It doesn't matter who's first or second, just as long as we qualify and we're both happy with our times."
"I like it because she pushes me so much," she said. "We had the same time, our (tenths of a second) were just different. I thought I was going to catch her, but my legs went dead in the last 15 meters."
Hollinger came back to win the 3,200 in 11:38.2, running by herself most of the way. Like Kelly, Hollinger was expecting a better race in the two-mile.
"I thought I'd have more competition," she said. "My goal was to go out and stay in the front, and God gave me the strength to get through the rest of the race because after that first mile I started to feel tired."
Sophomore Samantha Broaddus also had a big day.
First she anchored the fourth-place 4x200 team that included Courtney Williams, Jessie Lampert and Stephanie Chandler that ran a 1:47.4. She then broke the school record in the 400, taking second in 58.9. And, after placing third in the 200 (27.1), she anchored the third-place 4x400 team of Anderson, Williams and Richelle Wardell (4:03.4).
Also earning a regional berth was senior Suzanne Kelly, who took third in the 3,200 (12:05.5).
Placing but not advancing were Williams (fifth in the 200) and Ryan Brenn (sixth in the 800).
Both the Stow girls and boys qualified two runners on Saturday. Trenier Clement set a meet record in winning the 800, running a 2:15.9, while Abby Hermann was third in the 1,600 (5:21.7).
For the Bulldogs boys, Beesing was second in the 3,200 (9:45.4) and Charley Elsey took third in the 800 (1:59.5). The 4x100 team of John Warner, Shaun Fogle, Jamoni Robinson and Aaron Dement placed sixth and did not advance.
No Ravenna boy or girl qualified for the regional meet.
Kent Roosevelt Division I District
(at Kent Roosevelt)
Final Team Standings
1. Bedford 68; 2. Solon 64; 3. Brecksville 58; 4. Kent Roosevelt 50; 5. North Royalton 42; 6. (tie) Akron Firestone 39, Stow 39; 8. (tie) Nordonia 30, Shaker Heights 30; 10. Hudson 20; 11. Warrensville Heights 17; 12. (tie) Akron North 14, Cuyahoga Falls 14; 14. Akron Central-Hower 10; 15. Akron Buchtel 1.
Running Events Finals
(top 4 to regionals)
110-METER HURDLES (14.3) _ 1. Lee Evans (Bed); 2. Drew Carter (Solon) 14.6; 3. Ken Williams (Bed) 15.1; 4. Marc Mitalski (KR) 15.1; 5. Brian Silver (WH); 6. Cliff Gray (Solon).
100 METERS (11.3) _ 1. Andrew Jones (AF); 2. David Mentlow (KR) 11.5; 3. Ricky Perez (Bed) 11.5; 4. Greg Butler (Solon) 11.5; 5. Seth Robins (AF); 6. Melvin Gooden (AN).
1,600 METERS (4:24.0) _ 1. Josh McAdams (Brecks); 2. Jeremy Latsko (NR) 4:24.2; 3. Justin Murphy (CF) 4:31.6; 4. Ryan O'Donnell (Solon) 4:31.9; 5. Jon Mikusa (KR) 4:35.6; 6. Nate Smith (NR).
4x100-METER RELAY (42.9) _ 1. Bedford; 2. Firestone 43.7; 3. Kent Roosevelt (Millon Blackshear, Sam Moore, David Mentlow, Marc Mitalski) 43.8; 4. North Royalton 43.8; 5. Nordonia; 6. Stow (John Warner, Shaun Fogle, Jamoni Robinson, Aaron Dement) 44.6.
400 METERS (49.2) _ 1. Dave Bonner (Brecks); 2. Nick DiGiorgio (Brecks) 49.6; 3. Brian Barnes (SH) 50.2; 4. Keith James (ACH) 50.9; 5. Mike Seekley (Solon) 6. Andre Lessears (AB).
300-METER HURDLES (38.6) _ 1. Lee Evans (Bed); 2. Brian Silver (WH) 39.1; 3. Drew Carter (Solon) 39.1; 4. Bob Kohut (NR) 39.1; 5. Marc Mitalski (KR) 39.2; 6. Ken Williams (Bed).
800 METERS (1:58.5) _ 1. Josh McAdams (Brecks); 2. Jason Spikes (Solon) 1:58.7; 3. Charley Elsey (Stow) 1:59.5; 4. Marlon Hauser (Nord) 1:59.5; 5. Aaron Emig (KR) 2:00.0; 6. Ofer Barniv (KR) 2:00.2.
200 METERS (22.4) _ 1. Andrew Jones (AF); 2. Dave Bonner (Brecks) 22.5; 3. Jarrod Ferrell (Nord) 23.1; 4. Ricky Perez (Bed) 23.3; 5. Justin Russell (Bed); 6. Lucius Street (AN).
3,200 METERS (9:41.1) _ 1. David Kelly (KR); 2. Don Beesing (Stow) 9:45.3; 3. Josiaf Quarles (SH) 9:45.7; 4. Dave Gramlich (CF) 9:45.7; 5. Peter Robison (KR) 9:48.7; 6. Jeremy Latsko (NR).
4x400-METER RELAY (3:21.6) _ 1. Brecksville; 2. Firestone 3:23.4; 3. Solon 3:25.2; 4. Nordonia 3:25.5; 5. Kent Roosevelt (Millon Blackshear, Sam Moore, Nick Jones, David Mentlow) 3:26.9; 6. Bedford.
Final Team Standings
1. Bedford 82; 2. Kent Roosevelt 77; 3. Solon 65; 4. Shaker Heights 62; 5. North Royalton 50; 6. Stow 40; 7. Akron Buchtel 26; 8. Warrensville Heights 23; 9. Hudson 20; 10. Akron Firestone 16; 11. Brecksville 12; 12. (tie) Akron North 8, Cuyahoga Falls 8; 14. Akron Central-Hower 5; 15. Nordonia 2.
Running Events Finals
(top 4 to regionals)
100-METER HURDLES (14.7) _ 1. Dalanda Jackson (SH); 2. Heather Ratliff (NR) 16.3; 3. Nicole Ponder (AB) 16.5; 4. Sarah Schilling (Solon) 16.5; 5. Danielle Greenleaf (Stow) 16.9; 6. Katie Judd (Nord).
100 METERS (12.2) _ 1. E. Harper (Bed); 2. Tara Conley (Solon) 12.6; 3. Kim Harris (SH) 13.0; 4. Champagne Oden (ACH) 13.1; 5. Lisa Braddix (Solon); 6. Micaela Benn (SH).
4x200-METER RELAY (1:43.3) _ 1. Bedford; 2. Shaker Heights 1:45.9; 3. Warrensville Heights 1:47.4; 4. Kent Roosevelt (Courtney Williams, Jessie Lampert, Stephanie Chandler, Samantha Broaddus) 1:47.4; 5. Buchtel; 6. Hudson.
1,600 METERS (5:15.6) _ 1. Erin Anderson (KR); 2. Jen Hollinger (KR) 5:15.7; 3. Abby Hermann (Stow) 5:21.7; 4. Erin Stralka (Hud) 5:23.7; 5. Kavisha Smith (AB); 6. Jayna Bischof (NR).
4x100-METER RELAY (49.9) _ 1. Bedford; 2. Shaker Heights 50.5; 3. Warrensville Heights 50.5; 4. Buchtel 50.5; 5. Solon; 6. Central-Hower.
400 METERS (56.9) _ 1. Erica Burks (Bed); 2. Samantha Broaddus (KR) 58.9; 3. Jeanna Fascione (NR) 59.0; 4. Javetta Moore (AB) 59.0; 5. Tana Blakely (AF); 6. Jessica Blanton (SH).
300-METER HURDLES (44.6) _ 1. Dalanda Jackson (SH); 2. Cyrita Johnson (Bed) 45.9; 3. Leigh Hutchison (Solon) 46.3; 4. Ashley Reker (Hud) 46.3; 5. Heather Ratliff (NR); 6. Jenny Fascione (NR).
800 METERS (2:15.9 - meet record) _ 1. Trenier Clement (Stow); 2. Dalanda McTier (AN) 2:17.0; 3. Erin Anderson (KR) 2:17.7; 4. Kia Flowers (Solon) 2:17.8; 5. Kati Machusick (NR); 6. Ryan Brenn (KR) 2:21.6.
200 METERS (25.9) _ 1. Tara Conley (Solon); 2. Erica Burks (Bed) 26.1; 3. Samantha Broaddus (KR) 27.1; 4. Lauren Richard (SH) 27.1; 5. Courtney Williams (KR) 27.1; 6. LaShannon Foster (AB).
3,200 METERS (11:38.2) _ 1. Jen Hollinger (KR); 2. Bitsy Bilek (Brecks) 12:04.8; 3. Suzanne Kelly (KR) 12:05.5; 4. Rachael Smith (NR) 12:11.5; 5. Brandi Smith (CF); 6. Katie Strange (Nord).
4x400-METER RELAY (3:56.6 - meet record) _ 1. Bedford; 2. North Royalton 3:37.2; 3. Kent Roosevelt (Erin Anderson, Courtney Williams, Richelle Wardell, Samantha Broaddus) 4:03.4; 4. Buchtel 4:04.3; 5. Shaker Heights; 6. Solon.