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Ness City dealing with injuries; Derr breaks record

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Ness City junior Jessie Rubottom was visibly exhausted Saturday at the Alex Francis Classic.

She just finished running 5-minute, 52.55-second 1,600-meter run, so that probably was part of it. However, she said she also experienced the hardest couple weeks of training in her life.

Rubottom made a goal this year: she wants to be one of the contenders for a state title in the 800 and 1,600.

"I want to be up with the best of them," said Rubottom, whose best individual finish was seventh in the 1,600 as a sophomore.

She was hobbled with injuries during that season that kept her out of training for nearly half the season, so she just wants to remain healthy this year.

So far so good, she said, but the same couldn't be said for the rest of Ness City's top distance runners in the high school portion of the Alex Francis Classic. Phillipsburg won the boys and the girls.

Senior Wyatt Beckman said he was experiencing pain in his right foot near his heel, and junior Dray Carson, the defending Class 2A state cross country champion, has missed the entire season with tendinitis in his knee and soreness in his hip.

"(Carson is) definitely frustrated," Beckman said. "He had such a good year, and he was so ready to run track."

As for himself, Beckman said his injury isn't stopping him from running -- he won the 1,600 and 800 in 4:53.80 and 2:10.05 -- but he doesn't want it to get worse.

"It's manageable," he said. "I didn't notice it a ton during the race, which was probably adrenaline. I definitely feel it now. Right now, it's probably more of a nuisance. It's not really stopping me, but if it gets worse, it'll probably slow me down."

Rubottom said this has been her best start to a season. She said for the past couple weeks, she has been training every day with hard workouts three to four times a week and long runs on her recovery days.

"We are increasing mileage while trying to maintain speed and endurance," Rubottom said.

Rubottom said it's rough to see Carson sitting out, but Carson experienced a similar situation in the fall. He missed his summer training with a hip injury, but he managed to get back up to speed during the season and finish as 2A's best runner.

"We'll know he'll be back at the top of his game as soon as he comes back," Rubottom said.

Breaking his own record

Phillipsburg senior Seth Derr had a goal prior to the season. He wanted to break his own school record.

That lasted until the first meet of the year. Derr threw 193 feet, 11 inches, breaking his previous record of 185 feet, 7 inches.

"It was pretty surprising for the first meet," Derr said.

Making it more impressive, there was a stiff tailwind. Tailwinds are considered to make it more difficult for javelins to sail farther.

"I think I just got my hips into the last throw pretty good," Derr said.

Derr is one of several Phillipsburg athletes trying to make a run at the Class 3A state title. Last year, the Panthers finished second, but they return all of their state qualifiers.

"I think we have a pretty good chance (of making a run at state)," Derr said. "Our guys have gotten a lot better from last year. We should have a strong team this year."

Wohler out kicks all-state sophomore

Victoria senior Jublain Wohler stuck with Phillipsburg sophomore Wyatt Ratzlaff for the entire race, dropping behind and drafting on the backstretch.

It paid dividends, as Wohler started kicking with 200 meters to go and sprinted past Ratzlaff, who finished seventh at Class 3A state cross country, down the final stretch. Wohler won the 3,200-meter run in 10:50.36.

"(Ratzlaff) was taking the brunt of the wind," Wohler said. "It was sucking the wind out of him, and I saw it. I figured I would stay with him until the last 200 and kick and try and get him. I figured I could, and it worked."