MORGANTOWN -When Maggie Drazba elected to continue her running career at West Virginia University following her senior season at St. Marys High School, the West Virginia Sports Writers Female Track Athlete of the Year was expected to make an immediate impact on the old gold and blue.
However, an injury and a decision by her new head coach Sean Cleary to redshirt the three-time (2009, 11 and 12) AA-A state cross country champion has delayed that impact until at least the upcoming fall.
"I did expect to be redshirted parts of this year," said Drazba. "Due to an injury last summer, my coach and I decided to redshirt cross country because I would not be in top form by the end of the season so we did not want to lose a season of eligibility.
"I had planned on redshirting the indoor and outdoor seasons."
That doesn't mean the state record holder (Class A) in the 800 meter run (2:20.35), 1600 meter run (4:56.23), 3200 meter run (10:31.83) and 4 by 800 meter relay (9:48.85) hasn't kept busy this year.
"I ran a 3K in Virginia in May as an unattached athlete just to get on the track and bust some rust," she said. "Then, on July 6, I raced in Eugene, Oregon at the USATF Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships. I raced the 5,000 and placed fourth."
Facing the best long distance runners in the country is nothing new for the St. Marys native. As a St. Marys senior, she competed in the Great American Cross Country Festival Girls Race of Champions in Cary, N.C., and came away with her biggest victory to date when she covered the 5K course in 17 minutes and 28 seconds.
A two-time Gatorade West Virginia Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year, Drazba placed third at the Footlocker Southwest Regional with a time of 17:10 to qualify for the 2012 Foot Locker Cross Country Championship, where she place 22nd overall.
Her resume also includes a second place at the 2012 USATF Cross Country Junior Championships and she helped lead Team USA to the championship at the 2012 NACAC, where she placed fourth individually.
While at St. Marys, Drazba established a course record of 17 minutes, 17.89 seconds at the state cross country championships at Cabell Midland High School and finished undefeated during her four seasons of running cross country for the Blue Devils in Little Kanawha Conference action.
"Although the year didn't go exactly as planned, redshirting and just training allowed me to transition smoothly to college life in general," added Drazba. "I am currently training for cross country season where I plan to be racing for WVU."
Drazba is the daughter of Charles and Kathleen Drazba and has two brothers. She is majoring in pre-human nutrition and foods.