CHAMPAIGN – Last year, Champaign Central's Ermanda Roberts was forced to pull out of the finals of the 200-meter dash at the IHSA state track meet in Charleston with an injury to her left hamstring.
A few weeks ago, the senior strained her right hamstring. But it's going to take a lot more than that to keep her from attaining her goal of reaching the 200 finals later this month.
"It's not that bad this time," Roberts said Saturday after finishing third in the 200 and second in the 100 at the Big 12 girls' meet on Harold Jester Track. "I didn't pull it all the way this time, just strained it. It's not something that's going to bother me or get in the way."
Central coach Christopher Schultz said he hasn't seen the best of Roberts, a two-time state qualifier.
"When you get to your senior year, you start looking at what you need to do, and she really sees why she needs to work and what might be in the future for her," Schultz said. "If everything goes well, and we get some decent weather, she'll be the Ermanda that everyone is used to seeing."
What they'll see is a runner who looks like she's barely breaking a sweat while breaking away from her competitors, even in cold, windy conditions like Saturday's.
"She makes it look like she's jogging out there. It looks like she's floating," Schultz said. "She really is a beautiful runner to watch."
This is Roberts' favorite time of year because the weather starts to heat up, as does the competition.
"I'd rather run against people that are up there with me," said Roberts, who is among the area's best in the 100, 200 and 400. "I just like to see where I'm at against other people. I'm really excited for state because I know there will be some good competition there."
Central was ninth at the weather-delayed meet, which was won by Bloomington.
Centennial's Jordan Harris was her usual dominant self, winning the shot put and discus.
Fourth-place Danville was paced by Destiny Carter's win in the long jump.
Urbana's Shelby Stevenson won the pole vault. McKenzie White was second in the 100 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles for the Tigers, who won the 800 relay.