Rawls is ready to run faster

Posted: October 17, 2010

Rob Rawls is running faster than ever.

Maybe that's because he's not weighed down by worry anymore.

"I'm just trying to have fun," said Rawls, a senior cross-country standout for Triton. "Last year, if I ran bad, I would get really down and then the next day I would take it out on myself on a long run.

"Now if I run a bad race, I have a five-minute pity party and it's over."

Rawls hasn't run many bad races this season. He's been one of South Jersey's top runners, with a first-place finish in Saturday's Camden County race and a third-place finish in the Division 3 race at the South Jesey Open.

Rawls will be among the favorites at the Olympic Conference and South Jersey Group 4 meets and also hopes to run well at the state Group 4 meet and the Meet of Champions.

Question: How long have you been running?

Answer: I played football most of my life. I started when I was six or seven and played all the way until middle school. But then I started running in middle school and I loved it right away.

Q: What's the best thing about distance running?

A: There's a freedom to it. It's really an individual sport in a lot of ways. You get to test yourself.

Q: What kind of mileage were you doing in the summer?

A: I usually was doing around 60 miles a week. But a couple weeks I think I hit 90. I was doubling every day. I really felt good and enjoyed running that much. I think it's made me stronger for the season.

Q: Did missing your sophomore season because of injuries make you enjoying running even more than you came back?

A: I came back last year and wanted to do so well. I missed competing.

Q: You sister, Jen, is a top runner at Rowan after a great career at Highland. Has she been an inspiration to you?

A: Definitely. My brother, Jeff, ran and my sister ran. It runs in the family.

Q: What are your college plans?

A: I haven't been recruited by any big schools, so I might try to go to Rowan and run there. That would be excellent.

Q: What's your favorite subject in school?

A: Psychology.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: I like rap and hip hop to get me fired up before a race. I like to listen to "Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi and "Not Afraid" by Eminem.

Q: Do you have a traditional meal the night before a big race.

A: Me and my sister always eat Romano Crusted Chicken Parmesan at Chicago Uno Grill. That's our meal.

Q: What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

A: I just want to run well. I'm having fun. It's great to be back running and I just want to enjoy it.

Three stars from last week

1. Moorestown's Ally Curtis and Kelsey Ham upset an undefeated team from West Windsor South in the quarterfinals of the state doubles tennis tournament on Saturday.

2. Andrew Garcia had 24 saves as Timber Creek beat Washington Township, 1-0, in the first round of the coaches tournament in boys' soccer on Friday.

3. Williamstown girls' volleyball player Brooke Hassan had 19 assists in a 2-1 victory over state power Southern Regional on Saturday.

Three tips on this week

1. Top-ranked St. Augustine visits No. 3 Shawnee in a boys' soccer clash Monday at 3:45 p.m.

2. Monday's South Jersey finals in girls' tennis features a match between Haddon Township and Pennsville in Group 1.

3. Eastern coach Danyle Heilig welcomes her old team as the No. 1 Vikings host No. 3 Moorestown in field hockey Saturday at 10 a.m.

Super Seven power rankings

Here are the best teams in South Jersey, regardless of sport (records through Saturday):

1. Haddonfield girls' tennis (26-0): The Bulldogs are heavy favorites to win program's 17th state title and third in a row Wednesday at Mercer County Park.

2. Eastern field hockey (15-0): This is the Vikings' idea of a rebuilding year.

3. Holy Spirit football (5-0): The Spartans, who have outscored opponents, 207-13, have played with a running clock in the second half of four of their five games.

4. Cherokee football (5-0): The Chiefs host cross-district rival Shawnee Friday at 7 p.m.

5. St. Augustine boys' soccer (14-0): It's a big week for the Hermits that includes Monday's clash with Shawnee and a second-round game in the Coaches Tournament against Cinnaminson.

6. Lenape girls' soccer (11-1): Friday's 2-0 victory over Clearview was the Indians' 17th consecutive victory in Coaches Tournament play.

7. Williamstown girls' volleyball (19-2): It was a monster week for the Braves that included victories over Cherry Hill East, Cherokee, Absegami, Southern and East Brunswick.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Cherokee girls' volleyball (10-1), Paul VI girls' soccer (10-2-1), Paul VI football (5-0), Shawnee boys' soccer (11-1-3), Shawnee field hockey (12-2).

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223 or panastasia@phillynews.com.

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