Bruins’ newcomer turns team into contender

Sunday, October 30, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:05 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

Rock Bridge’s record-setting season began almost three months ago with a knock on Lauren Borduin’s door.

It was a Saturday morning in early August, and members of the Bruins’ cross country team were out for their daily training run. They decided to take a short detour, hoping that they could finish their run with one more person than they started with.

The target was Borduin, a sophomore who knew many of the cross country runners after running track with them. She had been asked multiple times during the summer to join the cross country team, but declined each time.

She had good excuses: She didn’t want to wake up for the 7 a.m. summer runs, and she was already competing in two sports — basketball and track. But those answers didn’t satisfy runners Becca Sullinger and Andrea Seabaugh.

“We thought of people who we thought should be running with us, and we thought about Lauren,” said Sullinger, who ran with Borduin during track season.

So on this Saturday morning, they decided to run to Borduin’s house, ring the doorbell, and wait until she came out. And they would make her run with them.

Borduin answered the door and, after much prodding, conceded.

“They refused to leave until I ran with them,” Borduin said. “I finally said OK. I was 95 percent sure I wasn’t going to do it, but I thought I’d try it out.”

Borduin not only tried it out, but she stuck with it.

Since then, Borduin has become the Bruins’ top runner. Now she is one of three sophomores who have transformed the team into a threatening contender at each race they run.

The three girls, Borduin, Sullinger and Seabaugh, have spent the season challenging each other and pushing each other to improve.

“We stick together as a unit,” Sullinger said. “We practice together. We race together. It has been us three leading the team all season.”

Saturday’s Class 4 sectional race was no different for the three girls. Their team finished in second place at the race and qualified for next Saturday’s state meet in Jefferson City. It will be the first time a Rock Bridge girls’ cross country team will compete in the state meet.

The girls have set new Rock Bridge course records at each meet, and they hope to add a strong finish at the state meet to their list of accomplishments.

The Rock Bridge boys’ team finished in fifth place, and fell just short of being one of the top four teams to qualify for the state meet. Junior standout Phillip King had the best race of his two-year career, finishing with a time of 15:13. It was his first time breaking the 16-minute mark, and earned him a spot as an individual in the state meet. He will be joined by teammates Ryan Neff and Jeff Kaiser, who finished 28th and 30th, respectively.

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