Whitehall-Coplay Press

Friday, December 6, 2019
Devon Roberts has extra motivation for the winter and spring track seasons. Devon Roberts has extra motivation for the winter and spring track seasons.

Roberts looking to get back on track

Friday, November 22, 2019 by Jeff Moeller Special to the Press in Sports

For Devon Roberts, these are the trying times.

The Whitehall senior is admittedly antsy to begin the winter track season. Her recent cross country year didn’t end the way she anticipated.

Roberts battled with an ear infection and later an allergic reaction to her medication that dealt a severe blow to her league and district performances, both seen as a springboard to the state tournament.

“My first day back was leagues, and my legs didn’t feel that good,” said Roberts, who finished 58th and 29th overall at leagues and districts respectively. “After leagues, things really didn’t get any better for me.

“It got to be more of a physical thing than mental, and it was always the opposite for me. The amoxicillin I took gave me a high fever, my face was swollen, and I had trouble breathing. I had a couple of setbacks in the past, but nothing like this one.

“Physically, my body just wasn’t the same.”

Roberts noted that she was slowed at the end of her junior track season when she believed she had a stress fracture due to pain on the side of her leg.

“It wasn’t that,” stated Roberts about the fracture. “The pain went away and I was fine. Coming into my senior year, I was convinced I could get to states this year.

“But now I have to hope that I’m healthy to make a run in the spring.”

Roberts recalled how she began her running career in fifth grade when her friend Hannah Gill, who was three years her senior, began to run cross country as a freshman at Whitehall and is currently running at DeSales University.

Ironically, Roberts is leaning toward DeSales to continue her career next fall.

“She (Gill) told me about it, and it sounded like something I wanted to try,” said Roberts. “I started running in seventh grade, and knew it was for me.

“I remember becoming really stressed out when I had a race even to the point of balling my eyes out at the start line. I just had to prove it to myself that I could run the race.”

Roberts literally found her stride at the end of her freshman year. During the year, she set her personal record at 20:30.

“I figured out that I had to open my stride,” said Roberts. “That was pretty cool. I felt really confident and better mentally going into a race. I really began to feel comfortable.”

Head coach Mike Lelko certainly will miss the performances of his captain and female MVP of this past season. Roberts recorded a first-place finish early in the season.

“Despite some health setbacks, I thought she (Roberts) had a great senior season,” said Lelko. “I’m proud of her.

“After she graduates, I’m hoping that she continues her running at a Division III college. And she still has the spring to look forward to, where she can make her mark and have some successful races on the outdoor oval.”

Spring track can be a definite elixir for Roberts. Anticipation will be a recurring theme.

“I am definitely motivated for the spring,” boasted Roberts. “I am hoping I am completely healthy.

“I know I am close to the one- and two-mile record.”