Keeping perspective in one’s life can be a challenge.
Every day new opportunities and chances arise, and with them come decisions and consequences.
Firestone senior Sarah Meek does her best to keep everything in perspective.
She does not get too high or too low. She stays confident and believes in her faith.
Of course, Meek is a competitor when it comes to academics and running in track and field and cross country.
She wants to win, but she also trusts her path forward.
This weekend will be no different when she ventures from Akron to Columbus with her family and Falcons coach Tim Carroll to make her first appearance in the Division I state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University.
“I honestly have always loved running,” Meek said. “This kind of season I have desired, but never really thought it was feasible. Last year seemed to be a big year for me. The training that coach Carroll had me doing, and what he had to say about my running made me think that this was possible. My passion for running and my faith has been important. Through my ministry, I have learned how to run for God and see him take me to great times and great heights.”
Meek, 18, is a state qualifier in Saturday’s 3,200-meter race after winning titles at the Nordonia district and Austintown Fitch regional.
Her personal best time in the 3,200 is 11 minutes, 5.3 seconds, at the Nordonia district meet.
“I am really excited,” Meek said. “Not only is it my final race, but there are still goals I want to achieve. I want to go sub 11. I know there is going to be good competition. I have had good competition all the way through and this race puts all of the best in the state together. Having that amount of girls to push me is very exciting.”
Meek has emerged this season as more than just a success in the City Series, winning eight out of 10 invitational titles in the 3,200 after winning none last year with two second-place finishes.
“Sarah trains consistently six days a week throughout the year and if she has to miss conditioning or practice, she will get a run in on her own,” Carroll said. “Over the years, she has become more confident and obtained so much knowledge about training and racing. It is not easy to race in the 3,200. It takes a lot of practice and skill, and Sarah has put in the work in practice and has the skill. She is consistently running fast.”
Meek’s eight victories in the 3,200 came at Brunswick, Crestwood, Kent Roosevelt, Stow, Poland Seminary, Woodridge, Nordonia and Austintown Fitch. She set meet records at Crestwood, Stow and Woodridge and established a stadium record at Nordonia.
The two meets she did not win — at Tallmadge and Rocky River — she had second-place finishes to Rocky River senior Elyse Bierut, an Elon recruit, who was second in cross country in the fall and seventh last year in the 3,200 at state. Bierut’s best 3,200 time is 10:45.84.
“I have raced against her and we have talked,” Meek said. “It is a friendly competition, to say the least. She is very encouraging and a really nice person to talk to. Although it is challenging, it is really great to race against her. She is very strong and really has put in the work to get where she is at.
“I really think the biggest thing is to remember that this is my last race and focusing on knowing that I have the ability to run a great time and the ability to win.”
Meek generally runs 40-50 miles a week. She made her first state cross country appearance in the fall and placed 24th with a personal-best time of 18:49.11 under coach Malia Tschantz.
Carroll said he expects Meek to be focused from start to finish Saturday because of the excitement of the race and the support from her parents, Doug and Leah, and younger sister, 16-year-old Bethany.
“Just like with running, Sarah consistently works hard in school,” Carroll said. “She has a 4.209 GPA. She has always done a good job of taking care of her academics and finding the right balance between school work and running. She also does a lot of work in the community and with her church [United Methodist Church of Akron].”
Meek will graduate Monday in ceremonies at the Firestone High School gymnasium. She plans to run at Geneva College and double major in human services and missions.
“Coach Carroll does really deserve a lot of credit,” Meek said. “His passion has definitely inspired me to become more patient about running.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.