• November 26, 2020
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As a senior, James Rolfe Blizzard has accomplished many things on both the Track team and the Cross Country team. With some outstanding times already in the books, Blizzard looks to bring his team to states and break a couple of state records along the way. (Photo Courtesy of Francis Fleming)

James Rolfe Blizzard is a senior at Leesville with some incredible talents. 

As a captain of the Cross Country team and prestigious track runner, Blizzard has some excellent times and an outstanding work ethic to back them up. Blizzard’s awesome work ethic has propelled him to become one of the most well rounded runners Leesville has ever seen.

Blizzard claims it all started in the 7th grade when, “Mrs. Gamble forcefully told me I would run,” said Blizzard via text. 

Mrs. Gamble was the coach of the Leesville Middle School Track Team and saw the hidden potential in Blizzard right away. 

As a middle schooler, Blizzard primarily ran the mile. Even though he had a rocky start in the seventh grade, Blizzard outworked the competition and eventually found himself undefeated his eighth grade year in the mile. Blizzard finished the season with a blistering 5:02 mile which was just the start.

As a freshman, Blizzard came in with high hopes and expectations. However, he realized that competition was strong and his superiority from middle school would not carry over without some hard work. So, he started working.

Blizzard recalls someone telling him “Some people are meant to play chess, others checkers,” and he lives by these terms. On any regular day, Blizzard will do everything he can to be as productive as possible. 

Wasting time is not in his vocabulary. Blizzard typically runs twice a day, has a vigorous schedule of classes that he attends, works various jobs such as mowing lawns or working at Springdale pool, plays basketball, and does whatever other various tasks he may need to do. 

Blizzard is not afraid to sacrifice sleep in order to get all of the things he needs to get done, done. 

This vigorous schedule propelled Blizzard to eclipse his goals on the track. As a freshman, Blizzard ran a 4:44 1600m and a 10:10 3200m. For those unaware these times are extremely good, most experienced high school runners struggle to hit these times if at all. However, this was just the beginning for Blizzard.

Over the next few years, he continued to tear down old personal bests to set even faster ones. As a sophomore, he ran a 4:38 1600m and a 9:38 3200m. Sadly, during his junior year, the combination of the Coronavirus and some coaching issues only allowed for a couple of track races. In which, Blizzard was unable to eclipse his monstrous 3200m record, coming just short with a 9:40, however he was able to top his 1600m personal best with a blazing 4:26. Blizzard is able to work both sides, holding down a 15:37 in the 5k during his junior year in Cross Country. 

Heading into his senior year, Blizzard has set some high expectations for himself. Having already beaten his 3200m record running a 9:33 a few weeks ago, Blizzard is aiming for a 9:19 when the year is over which would be a school record for Leesville (currently a 9:21). In the 1600m, Blizzard is aiming to break another school record. The current record is 4:20 set just two years ago by Preston Jones, but Blizzard aims to beat that and run a 4:19. 

In Cross Country, however, Blizzard has no real goal for a time he wants. The main focus is bringing up his team. Blizzard wants to bring his team to a top 10 finish in the state championships, and come in first as an individual during that race. This is no minor feat, however, as North Carolina has some prestigious runners on loads of different teams such as Wesley Haws of Gibbons who has run a 15:18 in the 5k. Even though this goal is quite extreme, Blizzard is confident that he can do it.

The main reason that Blizzard enjoys running so much is the “blank mind sensation” he achieves while running. “When I’m running, it’s almost like nothing else matters in the moment, and I can just concentrate on the rhythm of my breathing rather than thinking about school work or daily tasks,” said Blizzard. 

Blizzard was inspired to become a great runner by some college runners talking about their college running experiences. Blizzard wanted to do all the great things he had heard from the college runners and more. This lit a fire in Blizzard and drove him to become the best runner he could be, running harder than anyone else before him.

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