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Wapakoneta City Schools eighth-grader Allie Zofkie says she considers herself having been a competitive runner for two years. However, her mother, Jodie Zofkie, said it began much earlier than that.
“When she was younger, she would just run,” Jodie Zofkie said. “I noticed very early that she was going to be a runner.”
Running has become a favorite pastime for Allie, who is 13, and her interest in running paid of with the Wapakoneta Junior High cross country team this year. She closed out a fine season by winning the Western Buckeye League individual title with a time of 12:13, helping her team to a fourth place finish at the meet.
The daughter of Jodie and John Zofkie habitually dominated in every performance this year. She placed second once and finished third once, but other than that Zofkie finished first in every race she ran this past season. She also finished ahead of many of the boys in the field, including twin brother, Will.
When asked if she typically beat her brother, she replied, “sometimes,” while laughing.
Allie has picked up long-distance running as a full-time habit, running on her own beyond what was required in cross country practices this season. She normally gets in 2-3 miles a day and typically runs approximately 10 miles per week. The hard work has paid off. In her WBL performance, the second place finisher trotted in nearly 12 seconds behind her.
She said she was happy with her time, as she had set a goal earlier in the season to break the 12:15 mark.
“I try to think of first place and set my mind to it,” Allie said.
Junior High cross-country coach Aaron Stiger said it was an exciting season, as Allie and fellow eighth-grader Chad Bowers swept the individual honors at the league meet for Wapakoneta Middle School.
“It’s not often you have the winner for both races come from the same school,” Stiger said. “It was nice to see them excel.”
Allie will make the jump to high school cross country next year. Sometimes the extra distance can cause growing pains, but Allie appears ready for the jump. Recently over the summer, she participated in a few 5K runs, and put together a solid best-time run of 20:01 at the Under The Moon 5K.
Allie’s mother said she felt her daughter is more than ready for the transition.
“On a Saturday or Sunday she will run up to 6 miles with her father,” Jodie Zofkie said. “I think she is prepared and the transition will be easy for her.”
Her mother said her daughter has become more confident this year, but she doesn’t bank on it.
“She has been much more confident this year,” Jodie Zofkie said, “but she still gets pretty nervous before she runs. She doesn’t like to assume anything. She keeps an edge.”