BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — There’s a saying Maumee High School grad Eric Board likes to remember.
“Running is the most unforgivable sport.”
More than ever, this fall has been that quote embodied for Board.
After a successful freshman season at Xavier University, when Board competed in the Big East championships and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, he was gearing up for an even bigger sophomore season.
During his first race of the season, Board noticed some pain in his shin. He took some time off and did some rehab, but an MRI showed he had fractured his tibia. The doctor told him it would be a six- to 12-week rehabilitation schedule.
“I came back from the summer extremely ready to go, got back to campus, everything was going great,” Board said. “It was a huge disappointment.”
Board used a medical redshirt for this season.
“There were times I was like, ‘Why am I even doing this? Is it even worth it?’ There were other times that I knew I would come back stronger,” Board said. “This was the first time I had ever been injured in my running career, but luckily I had a great support system in my teammates and coaches, my athletic trainers working me through the rehab.”
Board spent 10 weeks in a boot, but he got cleared to run last week. He said he’s having the time of his life right now and is focused on getting back for Xavier’s indoor track schedule.
“Running is a very unforgiving sport,” Board said. “I spent my summer training at altitude, ready to come back and then my tibia snaps and I don’t get to show what I worked for.
“It’s a really difficult thing to go through. Running has been my life since middle school, so it was really difficult to have that taken away, but we’re back.”
Board finished 64th at the Big East Championship and 143rd at the NCAA regional last year. During the outdoor track season, he finished 12th in the 5,000-meter run at the Clark Wood Open in Louisville and 32nd in the 6,000 meters at the Vic Godfrey Open in Kenosha, Wis.
Looking back on his first season, Board said the biggest adjustments coming from Maumee to Xavier were the competitiveness of the events and the size of the races.
While high school cross country meets are 3,000 meters, college meets can be 8,000 or 10,000 meters – or about two to three miles longer.
“When you go the NCAA, everyone is good,” Board said. “Adjusting to everyone being good, you’re surrounded by so much talent.”
Board was a four-year letter winner for the Panthers in cross country and track. As a senior, he ran in the state cross country meet and advanced to the state track meet in the 1,600 and 3,200 races.
Coming from a successful high school career where he was always among the top runners to a competitive college schedule was an adjustment, but one Board is confident he’ll make.
“It’s something you have to go through and experience, but luckily my team is very supportive, and we’re all proud of each other,” Board said.
“I look back at my freshman year of high school and I was in the middle of the pack. It took me couple of years to get back to the front, so I’m hoping it’s the same thing in college.”