The Washington Times-Herald

Local Sports

December 13, 2012

Graber running way into national attention

MONTGOMERY — Natalie Graber has been running all her life, and she’s pretty good at it.

After all, it’s in her blood.

Graber, a seventh grade student at Barr-Reeve, recently gained national attention for her 16th place individual finish, and a third place team finish with her team, The Eagles, at the USA Track and Field National Junior Cross Country Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.

Graber got her first taste of cross country in third grade at the age of eight when she joined the Barr-Reeve junior high cross country team. Graber ran in her first Junior Olympics race, and qualified for Nationals. She wasn’t able to compete, because the race was in Reno, Nev.

At the Indiana State Cross Country Championships in the fall of 2011, Graber met the Baer family who had two girl runners the same age as Natalie and The Eagles team was born. That fall The Eagles ran to a third place finish in the Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships for their age division (11-12) at Myrtle Beach.

The Eagles, ages 11-12, ran to first place in the State and the region 7 qualifying meets, which sent them to the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics Cross Country National Championship Dec. 8 at the Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, N.M. 

In Albuquerque, Graber finished 16th in a field of 263 runners in the midget group, ages 11-12. At the same time, The Eagles placed third out of 23 teams.

Graber said she wasn’t exactly surprised at her high finish, but more excited she was able to accomplish such a feat.

“I tried to do my best,” Graber said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I gave it everything I had.”

Traveling to New Mexico for the championships was a great opportunity, but also presented a new set of challenges for Graber and her teammates. The higher altitude was something none of the other runners had ever experienced.

“A lot of us - we were taking the first kilometer out - and we weren’t supposed to go as hard because of the altitude,” Graber said. “We felt like we were about to die after the first kilometer, because we couldn’t breathe.”

Throughout the entire run in New Mexico, Graber said her favorite aspect of the success was getting to experience the championships with her friends and teammates. One of Graber’s teammates is fellow Barr-Reeve student, eighth grader, Emily Schultheis.

Natalie grew up watching her older cousins excel at cross country, which laid the groundwork for her eventual success. Courtney (Heller) Mathis ran for Barr-Reeve and Chloe Heller starred for Washington.

Both girls represented their schools in the IHSAA Cross Country Championships, all the while Natalie Graber was cheering.

In Graber’s young, but successful cross country career to this point, she said her cousins’ have given her some simple advice on how to handle adversity that may come.

“Whatever happens, and if I have a bad day or something, they encourage me to keep moving forward.”

 

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Area Baseball Statistics AREA BASEBALL STATS BATTING (Minumum 15 at-bats) BATTING AVERAGE A.J Graber (B-R) .423 C. Miller (LHS) .386 H. Bell (LHS) .381 L. James (B-R) .348 L. Bell (LHS) .321 A. Wittmer (ND) .320 L. Graber (B-R) .318 N. Gingerich (ND) .310 J. Blackwell (LHS)

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT-WT-042314-ASHLEY ELLIOTT PIC BNL downs Washington, 11-1 The Washington softball team lost another game Tuesday night, but coach Bret Graber sees signs of improvement that could pay dividends down the road. The Hatchets have yet to win a game this season, and to an outside observer, the 11-1 loss to Bedfo

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ND downs B-R 6-2 MONTGOMERY - The Lady Cougars scored four runs in the top of the third inning and that was enough for the victory as they went on to beat Barr-Reeve, 6-2 on Saturday. Molly Wallace started on the mound for the Vikings and took the loss, as she gave

    April 22, 2014

  • SPT-WT-041914-LHS_WHS01 Loogootee defeats Washington, 16-6 LOOGOOTEE -- In the game of softball, a good offensive attack doesn't always mean the number of hits you can record, but rather the patience you can show at the plate. Loogootee used a big second inning to defeat Washington 16-6 in six innings due i

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Friday's Sports Briefs Hatchets beat Lions LOOGOOTEE -- The Washington girls tennis team defeated Loogootee 3-2 Thursday afternoon. Loogootee won the first two singles matches with Emily Bateman defeating Chelsee Brown 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4 and Erin Nelson defeating Audrey Rog

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT-WT-041714-JAKE BEDWELL PIC Hatchets get first win over Loogootee LOOGOOTEE -- The Loogootee baseball team had its chance to get back to .500 and pick up its fifth win of the season, but instead the visiting Washington Hatchets flipped the script to get their first win of the season. The Hatchets (1-4) scored four

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports Briefs Vikings beat Cardinals MONTGOMERY -- The Barr-Reeve girls tennis team defeated Washington Catholic, 5-0. Allison Hoover beat Macy Kane at No. 1 singles (6-2, 6-0), Melody Rohrer beat Claire Burch at No. 2 singles (6-0, 6-1) and at No. 3 singles, Beth

    April 17, 2014

  • Area girls tennis teams strive for sectional championship Spring is here and that means we have traded snow showers for almost daily thunderstorms, but the temperatures have warmed up and the girls tennis season is in full swing. Washington, Washington Catholic, North Daviess, Loogootee and Barr-Reeve all f

    April 17, 2014

  • SPT-WT-041614-BrianHughes Hughes named District 3 Coach of the Year Bryan Hughes has been coaching basketball for more than half of his life, he's received numerous accolades for his team's success, but one award in particular still brings him great pride. For the third time, Barr-Reeve's Bryan Hughes has been named

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area Athletic Postponements

    All Barr-Reeve and Washington athletic events for Tuesday were postponed due to inclement weather. Loogootee track and junior varsity baseball were also postponed. North Daviess baseball, girls tennis and boys golf still will go on as planned.

    April 15, 2014