Catching Up With Indiana's Anna Rohrer
What a magnificent fall it's been for Anna Rohrer (So., Mishawaka, IN). The Indiana sophomore is having a cross country season to remember, as she's jumped for relative obscurity to becoming one of the best runners in the nation.
It all started at the New Prairie Invitational early on in the season, where Rohrer won in a time of 17:14.1, which just so happened to rank her among the very best Indiana runners in history. A few weeks later she lost a battle with defending state champion Ashley Erba at the Culver Academies Invitational 17:13-17:32, but still showed that she was one of the faster runners in the country.
Fast forward to her Semi-State meet, Rohrer put up an eye-opening 17:03.96 victory, the fastest 5k time in Indiana prep history, which set her up nicely for a rematch with Erba at the Indiana State Cross Country Championships. In Terre Haute, site of the championship race, Rohrer stepped it up one more time, besting Erba for the title 17:13.2-17:29.2, giving her a great deal of momentum heading into the post-season.
We had a chance to talk with Anna recently, as she gears up for the Foot Locker Midwest Regional on November 24.
Scott Bush (SB): Anna, congratulations on your big state meet victory. What was your strategy heading into the race and how great does it feel to be the Indiana individual champion?
Anna Rohrer (AR): My strategy heading into the race was to keep an open mind and be ready for whatever was thrown at me. I knew I was running with girls who were experienced on the course and I was prepared to stick with them. Also, I knew Ashley (Erba) and I would eventually separate ourselves from the rest of the frontrunners and that last K was really going to have to hurt. Basically, I was ready to use whatever strategy Ashley used and be prepared to out-kick her.
I feel blessed to be the 2012 IHSAA State Champion, especially because this time last year I was at the state meet on crutches and really looked up to the runners. It is crazy to think that now I am the person that people might look up to, so I want to make sure I set the best example I can at all times.
SB: Your running took a huge leap forward this fall. Last year you didn't make state and in the spring you finished 17th in the 3,200m at state. What do you attribute to your meteoric rise to become one of the best runners in the country?
AR: There are three main factors that played into my large improvement. First would be my form. Last year my form was quite horrendous and it is still far from perfect. This summer, and throughout the season, my coach and I focused on my form and did all the "little things" to get stronger and improve my form.
The second main thing that played into my improvement is maintaining adequate iron levels. There was never a point when I felt like I did not have enough energy, but now my body is able to function normally without over-working itself.
The third main factor is monitoring my mileage. Not too many, not too few!
SB: You've had a great rivalry with Warsaw's Ashley Erba this fall. What's it been like having Ashley as a competitor and pushing each other throughout the season?
AR: I love competing against Ashley mainly because we are both so competitive, but in a friendly way. We both want to win, break records, and run PRs. Since our times are so close, it's always sure to be a good race between us. Win or lose, in my opinion it is a successful race if I feel like I gave it my all and ran smart.
SB: With the Indiana cross country season wrapped up, what are your goals for post-season competition (which meets will you be running)?
AR: I plan to run Footlocker in Wisconsin on Thanksgiving weekend, and if everything goes well, I will run in the national meet in San Diego. I know I will have some tough competitors at these races and I look forward to racing at an even higher level!
SB: What does a standard week of practice look like for you (mileage, workouts, etc.)?
AR: My standard week of practice is generally biking Monday-Friday mornings and core three times a week. I have a long run at least once a week, 1K repeats, a tempo run, and usually a race. My coach makes sure I also have good recovery days in between workouts and races.
SB: Not a lot of people know your history in the sport. How/when did you first get into cross country and distance running?
AR: I ran track in 4th and 5th grade just for fun and I kind of ran whatever I was thrown into. I didn't consider myself a "runner" until track in 7th grade. In 7th grade I actually played volleyball in the Fall, but ran track in the Spring because my P.E. teacher convinced me that I might have a future in running. When I realized I was pretty good at distance running, I decided to drop volleyball and take up cross country and track for good.
My early running years were very unorganized because I was young and didn't know what I was doing. I had frequent injuries and an unestablished schedule. It wasn't until I got to high school that I was able to really focus on running, and understand and follow a balanced schedule.
Fast Four Questions
SB: Favorite food?
AR: Any pasta with a lot of veggies!
SB: Favorite class?
AR: Honors geometry, which is crazy because last year I really disliked my honors math class!
SB: Favorite movie?
AR: I am really not much of a movie watcher, but my favorite is The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.
SB: Favorite part of cross country?
AR: My favorite part of cross country is my team. I just love the fact that we can clear our heads from all that's going on around us, run together, work hard, and just have a good time. Our team, boys and girls, is really just one big family!