Cross-country: Karabinus carries Osbourn Park
Ariel Karabinus climbed inside the school bus last Saturday at 5 a.m. She grabbed a seat wherever she could, slumped into the chair and, comforted by knowing the day was setting up perfectly, fell back to sleep.
But the bits of disappointing news that trickled in over the next few hours gave her a rude awakening.
While the bus sped down the interstate to Richmond for the Milestat.com Invitational, Karabinus found out that the other two teams most responsible for making this a competitive meet weren’t going to be there. After arriving on the course, she discovered yet another runner she was expecting to give her a big push was a no-show.
“My coach was like ‘Hey, there are two ways you can go about it,’” Karabinus said. “’You can go out hard or just help your teammates out.’”
Karabinus chose the first way. With nobody near her, the Osbourn Park senior blitzed the 5K course at Pocohantas State Park in Richmond in 17 minutes 52 seconds. Not only did she surprise herself by seting a course record, but she broke 18 minutes for the first time in her career.
“It felt pretty good," Karabinus said. "It was kind of disappointing running all by myself. I knew pretty early on it was going to be like that so I said just go for it.”
Saturday marked Karabinus’s third victory of the season at a major invitational and the second time she’s run a course record. The 18-year-old attributes her success to a disciplined summer running schedule, but even more to regained confidence. When asked, she was unable to explain why she lost faith in herself last season after an All-Met campaign in 2007. She just knows it's back.
“Confidence is just huge in racing,” Karabinus, said. “All my coaches have always told me that you need that, that you need to believe in yourself. It definitely clicked this year.”
A rejuvenated Karabinus, who carries a 3.6 GPA, has been setting the tone for the rest of her talented team. So far, whenever she’s won a race, the Yellow Jackets have dominated the team scoring. They finished a close second last month at the Red, White and Blue Classic in Pittsburgh.
With the postseason looming, Karabinus hopes Osbourn Park, ranked No. 2 in the state by Milestat.com, can win at least three more races. The Jackets are looking to lock up another district title — they've moved to the Cardinal District after winning the last three Cedar Run championships — and a second straight Northwest Region crown.
On Nov. 14, they will try to become the first area school to win the AAA championship since 2006.
“That’s a huge goal,” Karabinus said. “Our team has a solid shot of, if not winning states, definitely a top-three podium finish. Individually, I’d love to get a state title, but it’s anyone’s day on the day of the race. Anything can happen.”
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