In control: Rose changes focus to track

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo LaBrae's Jakob Rose finishes running the 3,200, an event he won during the April 11 meet with Liberty, Girard and Niles. Rose, who played football his first two years of high school, shifted his focus to track.

LEAVITTSBURG — It takes Jakob Rose’s mind to another world — one that he can control.

Distance running.

The LaBrae High School junior hears nothing but the footsteps smacking the all-weather track.

“I don’t have the best home life,” Rose said. “When I run, it helps me let everything out. Helped me a lot.”

You could say the atmosphere literally envelops him.

“Even when we’re told to run laps, I don’t think,” Rose said. “I forget what lap I’m on. Everything just escapes me. I just put it all on the track.”

He thanks former LaBrae track and field standout Andrew Cree for giving him the nudge he needed — leading to more peace in his life. Rose, a 5-foot-10, 140-pound sophomore saw the toll football was taking on his body. The injuries started to mount as the former cornerback had his frame battered on the scout team his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“Little injuries that made me think it wasn’t my thing,” Rose said. ” Like I wasn’t built for it, I guess.”

Last track and field season, Rose came out thinking he was a sprinter. His mind was quickly changed.

“In our warmup laps, we do a couple of them,” he said. “I was really good at those. My one friend said to come over to distance.”

That was Cree, who now plays defensive end for the Ohio University football team.

LaBrae boys track and field coach Brian Coxe confirmed the notion.

He had Rose run against what he called a rabbit — starting another LaBrae athlete about 100 meters ahead of him. The so-called rabbit was told to go out fast. Rose didn’t run like a tortoise, but he eventually caught the hare.

“He didn’t know he was any good until we said you can stop working hard if you beat that,” Coxe said. “Then we were like, ‘Holy crap. What just happened.?’ “

The Vikings had a distance runner. He made it to this year’s Division II cross country regional at Boardman High School.

His love of distance runner comes internally, Coxe said.

“It’s all him,” he said. “He pulls it from within. He’s a tough kid. He’s a leader quietly by just going out there and doing it.”

Rose has run a 2:13 in the 800, but went 10:40 in the 3,200.

He knows there’s more growth to be had in his running, especially the 3,200. There’s a gap to be made up before Rose can even think about a postseason run more than a month from now.

That said, the Division II state meet in Columbus is a possibility.

“I can’t there by just talking about it,” Rose said. “I have to put in a lot more work to be able to get there.”