ELKHART, IN. – Sophomore Faith Rock has come so far in a short amount of time during her participation in the high school cross country circles.
Rock recently competed in the Indiana High School Athletic Association S0uth Bend Sectional. After all the dust settled and the top five teams earned a spot in the October 19 Elkhart Regional, the top 10 individuals on a non-advancing team were named.
In the number ten position landed the name Faith Rock, LaVille High School.
Rock will run at Ox Bow Park in the Elkhart Central Regional at approximately 11:15 a.m. on October 19.
“I’m really excited for Faith,” said LaVille Head Cross Country coach Erin Ecker. “She has come so far in such a short time. This is only her second season as a middle-distance runner.”
So far, it has been a memorable season for Rock.
“First she is Hoosier North Athletic Conference Honorable Mention and now a Regional qualifier,” explained Ecker. “The South Bend/Mishawaka/Penn schools always have so many great runners making our sectional is a tough one to advance out of. The top five teams and each of their seven runners advance, then they take the next 10 runners not on an advancing team. Faith was 10th! Honestly, I was really surprised . . . we both were! I thought for sure it would happen in her junior season, so this year is a great surprise.
Following Friday’s rain and drop in temperature, the run last Saturday at Erskine Golf Course was not the most pleasant.
“Saturday was cold, we were all a bit worried when we loaded the bus and the “real feel” was in the low 40s, but once we got out on the course the hills and trees knocked down the wind considerably so it turned out to be a beautiful day for sectionals,” recalled Ecker. “Erskine is a super hilly course compared to ours and every other one we ran all year, but Faith and the entire team attacked them well and ran times pretty consistent with their PRs once you factor in the terrain.
“Faith’s advancement is huge for the cross country team,” continued Ecker. “She is one of our leaders and with the tight-knit group, her win is everyone’s win. The entire team is so excited for her, when I was sharing the news with them their excitement was through the roof, you would have thought that I was telling them they all advanced! We have so much young talent in the pipeline I think we will see this happen again.
The October 19 Elkhart Central Regional will be a far different run than that at Erskine Golf Course. The Ox Bow course is rugged, spread out, fairly level, there are not a lot peaks and valley’s. Weather can also play a role in the course at Ox Bow Park, as the runners will run on trails and footing can be a challenge, especially around sharp corners.
Rock’s personal best time so far during the 2019 season has been a 23:16 in the Hoosier North Athletic Conference Championships at Winamac Town Park on October 5.
“Regionals on Saturday will be tough,” said Ecker. “We combine with a very fast Elkhart Sectional Field and Faith has been fighting the flu all week. Faith runs very well on courses where she can get lost in nature, maybe she will surprise us all again.”