MIDDLEFIELD—By itself, Jon Nejman’s performance in the open race at the Chagrin Valley Conference cross country championships was impressive.
That the Cuyahoga Heights sophomore finished fourth in the Valley Division despite losing a shoe early in the race is rather remarkable.
“Jon finishing in the top five was uber-impressive in its own, but he did it without a shoe for 98-percent of the race,” said Cuyahoga Heights coach Chadwick Robinson.
Robinson slotted Nejman into the open race as a bit of motivation and it paid off.
Nejman finished the race in 21:16. He was the seventh fastest Redskins runner at the meet thereby earning a varsity slot at the district meet next weekend.
“I was trying to motivate Jon by not putting him into the varsity race because I knew he didn’t care either way because he’s that type of person—selfless,” Robinson said. “Jon earned his No. 7 spot at districts not only by being the seventh fastest from Cuyahoga Heights but because he did it under unforeseen circumstances.”
Robinson hopes Saturday’s performance is just what Nejman needed to not only boost his confidence but also lead to lower times in the future.
“Jon’s performance can not only propel him going into districts and help him and his team score well, but it will also give him the added confidence to know that his coaches have his back when the going gets tough,” Robinson said.