By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Manager
COLUMBUS — On the sprawling campus of The Ohio State University, it can be all too easy for a freshman to get lost amongst the intricate labrynth of buildings.
One of the first places Russia High School graduate Katie Borchers discovered on campus, however, was the weightroom. She’s spent much of the past three years locked in that weightroom, hefting iron and turning herself into a Big 10 champion.
“I’ve been getting a lot stronger the past few years,” said Borchers, who captured a conference title in the 800-meter run at the Big 10 Track and Field Championships at Purdue University. “My body has been adapting to college track and field. I’ve been lifting weights a lot more than I ever did in high school. It’s made a lot of difference for me. I didn’t do hardly any lifting at all in high school — I would just run.
“When you get to college, everyone is good in college. Everyone has to do lifting. Everyone has to eat right and has to get enough sleep. My freshman year was a real wake-up call. I knew it was going to be harder in college, but I didn’t realize how much more difficult it was going to be until I experienced it for myself.”
Despite the steep learning curve, however, Borchers did make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes as a freshman, helping the distance medley relay team set a school record during the indoor season. Since then, however, the wispy high school athlete who captured a state title in the 800 as a senior has built up her body through OSU’s strength and conditioning program — and has built up an impressive list of accomplishments along the way.
Before last weekend, she already had been namedas 2013 honorable mention All-American in the 800, held three schol records, was a three-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and an Academic All-American.
Winning a Big 10 title, however, has been the crowning glory on her career with the Buckeyes so far. She won the event in 2:05.17, breaking her own school record and edging Purdue’s Bre’Anna Smith by one-tenth of a second.
“It felt good — I am so honored and so blessed just to run for Ohio State,” Borchers said. “I felt great the whole week. I was ranked third after the preliminaries, but I knew we still had to run the final race.”
The fact that she is now a Big 10 champion still hasn’t hit Borchers a week later. Up next, she’ll compete in the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Fla. and hopes to qualify for a spot the following week in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Borchers said. “I don’t feel any different. I’m still the same person. It’s so hard to believe. I’ve watched video of the race and it’s still shocking to me.”
Contact David Fong at (937) 440-5228 or firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong