Soroco junior Sarajane Rossi chases after the leader on the first lap of the 800-meter run last week at a track meet in Rifle. Rossi went on to finish fifth in the event, earning her third medal of the day. A member of several relay teams, she has been one of the Rams' most consistent athletes this season.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco junior Sarajane Rossi chases after the leader on the first lap of the 800-meter run last week at a track meet in Rifle. Rossi went on to finish fifth in the event, earning her third medal of the day. A member of several relay teams, she has been one of the Rams' most consistent athletes this season.

Leading on and off the track

Sarajane Rossi shows strong work ethic in sports, academics

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— Soroco High School junior Sarajane Rossi is willing to make the sacrifice.

Without a doubt, the 800-meter run has been her event since she entered high school. She's consistently cut time off the event, pre-qualified for state in it last year and nearly always places near the top of her region.

But as the Rams progress into the regional and state track meets, Rossi realizes the 800 might have to be the event she sits out.

With her region as strong as it is in the event, and Rossi - Soroco's most complete female athlete - running the 800- and 1,600-meter relays as well as the sprint medley, she said she knows she might have to leave the 800 out.

But Rossi doesn't mind if it's best for the team that she doesn't run the 800. She'll be more fresh for relays and compete in the 400-meter dash. Friday at the Clint Wells Invitational in Craig, with winds gusting up to 40 mph, she ran the 400 in 63.07, nearly pre-qualifying for state.

"It might be different not running it," Rossi said Friday between events. "I'll do whatever because I really love the relays. That's the team part of track for me."

No matter what Rossi decides, Rams coach David Bruner said she'll be successful. Rossi's been a stalwart on the Soroco track and field team for three years. For the last two, she's stepped to the forefront and been a leader.

"She's a special kid, she really is," Bruner said. "I've coached a lot of kids in my 13 years, and she's one of the most special. Anything you ask of her, she's up to it."

Rossi, who also plays volleyball and basketball, said the love for sports is in her blood. Her father, Mark, once coached the Soroco wrestling team to a state championship, and her mother, Ceena, was an accomplished track athlete.

"Sports are my life," Rossi said. "About summer is the only time I get a break. : I love sports. It's like a job to me. It's a lot of fun. Volleyball, basketball, track - I love it."

Bruner said it's not hard to see why Rossi is so successful. He said her work ethic in practice is second to none and carries over into the classroom. With her work as a member of the Future Farmers of America, Bruner said Rossi's had a resounding effect not only on the track but in the school.

"She's always there pushing everybody," Bruner said. "She's helped out leadership-wise and takes a role in our school and makes sure kids make positive choices."

As the track season winds down - Soroco has three meets left - Rossi said she's hoping to qualify for state in all of her events.

Even if that doesn't include her beloved 800-meter run.

"Last year's regional championship (in the 800-meter relay) was the most awesome feeling. I can't even describe it," Rossi said. "A state championship, I can't imagine how great that would feel. Love to feel that in any of my sports. I'd love it. It would be something I'd love to accomplish. I just have to keep working my hardest every day in practice, and good things will happen."

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