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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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SBCC runner breaks records and arm on his way to victory

SBCC runner breaks records and arm on his way to victory
14 06:37

His alarm clock rings, and rings, and rings. It’s 5:30 a.m., and while most people are asleep, Ian Roberts and the cross-country team are wide-awake, ready to get their training in for the day.

This training helped land Roberts the top spot at this years Santa Barbara City College Invitational Friday, Oct. 11, at Leadbetter Beach. He ran the four-mile course in 22:25, five seconds ahead of the second-place runner.

“He’s been so successful because he does whatever he can to achieve his goal,” said teammate Alex Heuchert, who finished 14th in the invitational. “He has become a great team captain that we can all look up to.”

Roberts, a dual-sport athlete, wakes up every day motivated to improve. He runs for the cross-country team as well as the track team.

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“In high school, I had a lot of negative distractions,” he said. “Those past failures keep me going every day, even on those early mornings that nobody wants to be up.”

As he makes his way to practice every day and warms up with a three-mile run, Roberts thinks of the third grade boy that fell in love with running.

“As a kid, I would never sleep,” said the sophomore from Ventura. “My mom signed me up for track so I would come home and be tired.”

After realizing he had a natural talent for running, Roberts started to love the competitive aspect of the sport. Unlike team sports, running is solely based on the individual’s performance. He loved proving he was tougher than his opponent by outlasting him to the finish line.

In high school, Roberts also had a passion for basketball, but was quickly turned away by the politics that happen in high school sports. With cross-country and track, the political aspect couldn’t hold him back because he would always be one of the fastest runners.

“I love being able to show who has the most guts. Running isn’t necessarily about talent, but mostly about which runner has the most guts to get to that finish line,” Roberts said, quoting Olympic runner and one of his biggest inspirations, Steve Prefontaine.

Last year, as a freshman at City College, Roberts started to show his true colors. In cross-country, he led the team to 18th place in state, its best finish since 1992.

In track, he won the conference for the Vaqueros with a 1500-meter race time of 3:54.58, the second best time in school history. As he crossed the finish line, the standout runner dove at the finish line to beat his opponent by one-hundredth of a second, and broke his arm in the process.

“It was unfortunate because I was building up all year to get into the best shape I could be in,” he said. “But I did what I had to do to win. Someone even got a video of it on YouTube and now I’m known as the kid who broke his arm to win conference.”

Roberts was unable to compete in the state competition for track and field last year, but he’s looking to get back this year. However, his first concern is finishing out the cross-country season strong.

“I always thought of myself as a track runner who happened to also run cross-country for off season fitness,” he said. “But this year I think of myself as both a track runner and a cross-country runner. I’m really focused on my current season right now.”

Even though he’s in college, Roberts still has the same pre-race routine he had since he was a little kid.

“I eat a blueberry muffin before every race,” he said with a laugh. “I know it’s not the healthiest choice but I’ve been doing it my whole life and it’s become a superstition of mine.”

Another pre-game ritual of his is to write his goal time on his shoes before every race. Looking at his shoes various times and scribbles can be seen all over the shoe.

“That’s another thing that I did when I was younger and it kinda just stuck with me,” said Roberts. “I like it because it gives me a clear goal for every race.”

After another season full of victories and hopefully a couple State championships, Roberts plans to continue running both cross-country and track at the four-year level next year.

He has talked to the coaches at University of Portland and Gonzaga University, but has still not decided where we wants to go to school. He recently got a few emails from UC Berkeley and Stanford, but nothing too serious, he said.

“Berkeley would probably be at the top of my list,” he said. “I still have a while until I transfer so I’m going to wait it out until I find the best fit.

The runner looks to continue his season success at the Western State Conference Championships on Oct. 24, and he hopes his team can follow.

“I think we have a great chance in the postseason, and a lot of that is because of Ian,” said Heuchert. “He leads by example, not by force, and is always on top of what we’re doing as a team.”

The Vaqueros run the Western State Conference Championships at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Oxnard College. If the team does well they will progress to the Southern California Championships Friday, Nov. 8, in Central Park, Suagus.

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