By TED RADICK
They are friends off the track.
But for two and a half minutes Friday, Van Buren’s Rachell Resnik and Cory-Rawson’s Hannah Roebke will have to put that friendship aside.
The pair will be battling in the 800-meter run at the Blanchard Valley Conference track and field championship meet at Liberty-Benton.
Field event finals Friday begin at 4:30 p.m., with the 3,200 relay final set to begin at 5. Running preliminaries are scheduled for 5:30, with the remaining track event finals starting at 7.
Roebke, with a season-best time of 2:25.08, currently sits second in The Courier’s track and field honor roll in the 800 (Ottawa-Glandorf’s Elissa Ellerbrock is first at 2:21.67). Resnik, at 2:28.00, is fourth. Adding to the mix, Liberty-Benton’s Leah Recker recently ran a 2:26.79 to slide into third.
It will make the 800 the feature race at the BVC meet.
“I think it’s nice having someone you know that’s at your speed,” Resnik said of Roebke. “I can pace her and we can push each other.”
They pushed each other through a 30-mph wind two weeks ago at the Liberty-Benton Invitational. Roebke and Resnik finished 1-2, with both finishing under 2:30 in unfavorable conditions. Roebke broke into an early lead, and Resnik tracked her down through the final backstretch.
“I knew she was there,” Roebke said after that race. “I know how Rachell races, we’ve raced each other lots of time before.
“It’s good to have competition, to have someone to run with and push you. Rachell Resnik, she was right there to help me push through that wind on the backstretch.”
The two squared off through the BVC and postseason meets last season, all the way to state in Columbus. Both ran in the 800 final, and that’s when the value of their friendship shined through.
Resnik placed 14th at state in 2:25.21. Ahead of her, Roebke was seventh in 2:18.25. Roebke had been boxed in at the start of the second lap, had to break stride to swing around a couple of runners and was forced to kick earlier in the race than she’d planned.
At the finish, she was queasy and a tad disoriented. Resnik stepped in to lend a hand, guiding Roebke to the awards tent and sitting with her until Roebke’s stomach settled down.
“I wasn’t feeling too hot, and she helped me,” Roebke said. “She really did. That really stood out to me.”
Resnik shook off what she felt was a subpar race when she saw her friend in distress.
“That was spur of the moment, just doing what was right,” Resnik said. “I was really angry after my race, but you have to set that aside.
“Sportsmanship is probably the biggest thing for me. I felt like she needed a little help there, and I set aside my anger from the race and kicked into friend mode.”
Make no mistake though, Resnik is out to win on Friday. She feels she will have a better strategy than at the L-B Invitational, where Roebke won in 2:27.90 to Resnik’s 2:29.41.
“I actually got a little boxed in before we cut down, and I had to make a choice to either pass a girl on the curve or just wait,” Resnik said. “I think I made the wrong decision by waiting, because then I used all my sprinting ability to catch up to Hannah. By the last 100, I was done.”
The two have discussed this, of course.
“We talk all the time; we constantly talk about the season,” Roebke said. “We get to push each other not only on the track and everything, but we keep track of each other and what meets we’re running in. It’s really awesome to have a friend in competition with you.”
Like all the runners and field event competitors, Resnik and Roebke are gearing up for the stretch run of the season.
The BVC meet leads into the OHSAA district meets scheduled for May 28 and 30 (Divisions I and III) and May 29 and 31 (Division II).
“It’s time to start dropping our times,” Resnik said. “I’m kind of behind from last year in the 800 by a couple seconds. I think I just haven’t found the right meet for me, and I’m thinking Friday could be the right meet. I feel like with Hannah pushing me, I can do great things.”
By TED RADICK