• Now healthy, Truman's Rockhold setting – and reaching – goals in final year

  • Cole Rockhold entered his senior track and field season at Truman High School with three goals.

    • email print
  • Cole Rockhold entered his senior track and field season at Truman High School with three goals.
    First, the distance standout wanted to run a time better than 4 minutes, 17 seconds in the 1,600 meters. Second, he wanted to win the 3,200 at the KU Relays. And third, he wants to finish in the top three in those two events at the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships at Jefferson City.
    Well, he can check off two of those goals as he finished in 9:16 to blow away the field in the 3,200 and he ran a personal-best 4:14 in the 1,600 to finish fourth at the prestigious KU Relays last weekend.
    “Now, I just need to finish in the top three at state,” said Rockhold, who overcame a serious surgical procedure his sophomore year to become one of the most prolific distance runners in Truman history.
    He experienced a persistent pain in his back when he was running as a sophomore and doctors discovered a cyst on one of the vertebrae in his back that led to a stress fracture.
    “Doctors removed the cyst and I missed my sophomore cross country season,” said Rockhold, who was all-state in cross country in 2012 with a 24th-place finish (the top 25 runners earn all-state recognition). “I’m running pain-free and am really excited about my senior year. Setting the PR (personal record) in the 1,600 and winning the 3,200 at the KU Relays was amazing, just amazing. I envisioned what it would be like to win the 3,200 before the race, and I pretty much finished like I envisioned it.
    “Although it was much more exciting when it really happened. When I crossed the finish line in first place – at an event like the KU Relays – was more awesome than I even imagined.”
    Truman distance coach John Steele felt much the same way.
    “Cole has had to overcome a lot to achieve the success he’s had here at Truman,” Steele said, referring to Rockhold’s past medical issues. “We really want to see him do well at state and bring home a couple of medals, and we believe the KU Relays was a launching pad for that success.
    “To win on that stage is special. I talked to Cole before the races and he was so calm and confident that it made me calm. It was amazing as a coach to watch him set the PR and win the 3,200. And I think even better things are coming for Cole.”
    Distance running is as much a part of Rockhold’s existence as breathing.
    “I can’t imagine life without running,” Rockhold said. “It’s calming. It’s comforting. It’s how I blow off steam. I can go for a couple of miles jog and feel good about everything in my life.
    Page 2 of 2 - “And to have this type of success in a season where the weather has been so bad – with all the snow and rain – it makes me feel like the best is yet to come. I’m going to work hard and make sure I reach all my goals.”
    When asked to envision stepping on the awards stand at state and having a medal draped around his neck, Rockhold just smiled and said, “Awesome. I can’t think of a better word to describe it.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

      Events Calendar