Lessons of losing at Missouri Relays

Rock Bridge senior Lauren Borduin lost a close race in the 800-meters but her coach thinks the racing experience will help her compete later on.
Saturday, March 29, 2008 | 10:21 p.m. CDT; updated 9:50 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A.J. Miller of Rock Bridge pole vaults into the bar in the ninth annual Missouri Relays at Walton Stadium.

COLUMBIA — Lauren Borduin has done a lot of winning during her track and field career at Rock Bridge.

She won the state title in the 800-meter run as a sophomore, missing the state record by just two tenths of a second.


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During her junior year, Borduin struggled with a hip injury, but finished the season strong by winning the state title in both the 800-meter and the 1600-meter runs.

But, paradoxically, Borduin’s winning has been a problem for her at times. She has won so often and by such large margins that she hasn’t needed to push her limits.

Then when she has gotten into more closely-contested races on the national level or at state, she hasn’t been comfortable running side by side with her competition. She was too used to running way out in front.

According to coach Neil Blackburn, over the past two seasons there has not been a single runner in the state of Missouri who could challenge Borduin in the 800-meters.

“We went out to the Nike outdoor meet last year, the championships, and she got in there and it was kind of like she didn’t necessarily know how to handle racing with someone on her shoulder,” Blackburn said.

Because she has had so much trouble finding someone to challenge her, Borduin was thrilled that Cydney Ross from Villa Duchesne ran right with her in the 800-meters at the season-opening Missouri Relays on Saturday.

Borduin was so thrilled that Ross pushed her to do her best that she didn’t seem to mind too much that Ross won the race.

“It pushes you to your limits,” Borduin said. “When you are running by yourself you can get comfortable and then you don’t really know what you can do.”

Borduin came within three seconds of her state-title-winning time from last season on Saturday. It was the best time she has ever had at the Missouri Relays and would have been the meet record if not for Ross, who crossed the finish line 16 hundredths of a second before Borduin.

Blackburn said the close loss was much more beneficial to Borduin than an easy win would have been.

“(A blowout win) would have been the same thing that she has experienced kind of week-in and week-out for the last two-and-a-half seasons,” Blackburn said. “Having an experience with really and truly having to race and not just going out and running makes a difference.”

Blackburn wanted Borduin to focus on racing rather than her time, so he took her watch away from her just moments before the start of the race. It was a surprise to Borduin, but she said that it was not the first time Blackburn had forced her to give up the watch.

“Having my watch is sort of like a security thing, and sometimes I think he just wants me to not be so focused on getting comfortable as much as just running,” Borduin said.

Borduin won the 1600-meter run earlier in the day. She won that race by over eight seconds with Ross finishing second.

Borduin had a chance to become the first girl to win both the 1600-meter and the 800-meter at the Missouri Relays. She won the 1600 last year and the 800 as a sophomore in 2006.

Although they were not upset about the loss, Borduin and Blackburn said they look forward to a possible rematch between Borduin and Ross.

“I hope they see each other again,” Blackburn said. “I hope they get a chance to race and establish kind of that camaraderie through racing to continue to push each other to perform better.”

Rock Bridge also won the boys 4x100-meter relay and the boys 4x200-meter relay this weekend. Blackburn said the relay wins were a result of the commitment of his runners, who stayed in town over spring break to practice together.

Quinn Gray won the boys 200-meter dash for Rock Bridge. Matt Brummit from Hickman won the boy’s high jump.

Missouri had another good day in women’s throwing competition on Saturday. Shernelle Nicholls won the women’s discus, setting a new school record as well as the Barbados national record.

Nicholls also finished second in the shot put. Krishna Lee finished third in the shot put.

Nick Adcock finished second in the long jump, javelin throw, and 110-meter hurdles at the Relays.

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