Sept. 13, 2012
Roberts and ‘Cats looking for best at Nebraska
By David Boyce
When Northwest Missouri State senior cross country runner Derek Roberts competes in the Woody Greeno Invitational Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., he probably won’t finish first or second.
And that’s OK.
Roberts’ teammates know he has already made a sacrifice during the summer to help the Bearcats be one of the best men’s cross country teams in the MIAA.
As a competitive runner, Roberts excels in the middle distances in track. He enjoys running the 800 and 1,500 meter runs.
More than likely, it will be in those events during the indoor and outdoor track season that Roberts will again post his best times.
For now, the focus is 100 percent cross country. Instead of using cross country to prepare for the track season, Roberts is shooting for personal bests in a sport that can be lonely and grueling.
“This year is my last season so over the summer I’ve been training more for miles than speed,” Roberts said. “I have been training for cross country. I have seen some improvement. I think I will continue to get better and be somewhat of a use for the team this year.”
It only takes a minute talking to Roberts to realize that he is brutally honest about his performance and isn’t someone who is going to boast about his accomplishments.
A week ago, Roberts finished 13th in the Northwest Open. Roberts, along with the rest of the Bearcats, got the opportunity to run on their new home course, which will be used in the MIAA Championships on Oct. 20.
Roberts finished with a time of 28:05.3.
“It was hilly and tricky,” Roberts said. “Coach said it is more like a thinker’s course, more strategic with all the hills.”
“I ran pretty terrible. I have been putting in some high mileage. I think I will come around.”
Roberts, though, is not discouraged. In fact, he’s more determined to improve his time.
“I’d like to be in the 26th minute in the 8K,” Roberts said. “I will try to get low 26 and benefit the team.”
And really, that’s the main goal for Roberts. He wants to help the Bearcats. It’s why he pushes himself late in a race when he knows a top five finish is not going to happen.
“You just have to keep in mind that you want to help the team out,” he said. “This is for the team. I need to continue to run hard, set a good example and keep improving,” he said.
The closer Roberts gets to first place, the better off the Bearcats will be. At the Northwest Open, six teammates finished ahead of Roberts.
“I think we are a really good team, a top contender for the conference,” Roberts said. “We got some good guys and some good new ones coming in. I believe we can be right up there.”
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