Anna Rohrer's sophomore season was nothing short of spectacular, a state and national championship.
But as a junior, the cross country star from Mishawaka is already faster. A lot faster.
"It's almost like on Christmas morning, you know you're going to get a great gift," said Cavemen track and field coach Chris Kowalewski. "It's just how good of a gift is it going to be."
"I was ready to just go out and see where I was at," said Rohrer.
At the Viking Stampede hosted by Niles High School on August 24th, she ran her 5K in a blistering 16:52.25. It was the top time in the country so far this year, better than any girl in Indiana history and more than 30 seconds faster than she ran to win the national championship last fall.
"The feeling that I get at the end of a race, or at the end of a hard workout, sometimes I dread it," said Rohrer. "But then you finish and you feel that sense of accomplishment."
"She loves to run, that's all it is," Kowalewski says. "She's like Forrest Gump. She just wants to run, she just loves to run. And that's the great thing about her."
One of the hardest things Rohrer has learned, ironically, is how to slow down. Her goal is to peak at the end of a long season.
"Seeing a lot of other people getting into the workouts," Rohrer said of her training frustrations. "I'm still doing it but I might not be quite at that level yet, at that intensity. I just have to keep reminding myself to be patient. In a couple weeks, that's what I'll be doing."
Coach Kowalewski says Rohrer could run right now, at 16 years old, for any Division I program in the country. The national championship is still the definining moment of her career.
"I think it was really cool to experience and to get to know people from around the country," said Rohrer.
"She finally was able to get some people she was able to race with," Kowalewski said. "She was able to get around, to hang out with girls who are at her talent level, who she was able to race with. And race in a pack."
There won't be many packs for Rohrer until the end of the season. But as her record time to start the fall shows, she will be ready.