SUNBURY — Back on April 23, when high school and junior high track and field was in full swing, Big Walnut 8th-grader Colbi Borland was unaware of a meeting she would have that day.
Colbi is the daughter of Ryan and Heather Borland, and her mother is the former Heather Ward, daughter of the late Joe Ward and Debbie Ward, who still resides in Sidney.
Three days before that April 23 meet that the young Borland competed in, she broke the school record in the mile, one that had stood for 23 years. And when that news spread, the former record-holder, Jamie Horath, wanted to meet her. So she waited until after Borland ran the event that day and introduced herself.
“It’s sad and it makes me feel old,” Horath told the Sunbury News, a Civitas Media publication. “But the record held up for 23 years.”
And Colbi’s response? “I hope to go after her 800 record,” she said.
She ran a 5:29.6 to break the longstanding record, then followed that up three days later — with Horath watching — with another record, running a 5:28.
Needless to day, there is a lot of anticipation about the young runner putting her talents up against the best high school runners in the state when she attends Division 1 Big Walnut High School in Sunbury, which is just north of Columbus. And it won’t be in just track. She is also an accomplished cross country runner.
“As a seventh grader, she played soccer and a little basketball and softball,” said her mom Heather. “But she hadn’t really run much until seventh grade. She loved it right from the start. She said she prefers cross country over track, but with the success she’s had in track, I don’t know if that’s still the case.”
Breaking the 23-year-old mile mark is just the tip of the iceberg for Colbi — she broke both the 7th and 8th grade records in cross country, and in addition to owning the mile mark in track, she also holds the record in the 800, the 3200 and was on a couple of record-setting relay teams.
Colbi gets her love of those two sports from her dad. A native of Circleville, Ryan ran cross country and track not only in high school, but also in college at Otterbein. And Heather was an outstanding athlete at Sidney and went on to play basketball and run track at Ohio Wesleyan.
The Borlands also have two sons, Cale, 10, and Eli, who is 7.