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Warren runner Pate to attend Ohio Northern University

VINCENT –Warren senior Justin Pate prides himself on his endurance as a distance runner, and now, his endurance helped him commit to run track and cross country at Ohio Northern University.

While at ONU, Pate will study engineering. He said the school’s engineering program was the biggest reason while he choose to attend. The future Polar Bear elaborated on his decision and what he hopes to achieve in the program.

“I didn’t think I’d have an actual signing ceremony, because of COVID, but I did. I think I made the right choice,” he said. “They have a really good engineering program, and then I just really felt at home on the campus. I visited once before COVID and once after COVID hit. I want to find a good engineering job and hopefully make a difference in the world.”

On the athletic side of things, Pate saw plenty of success running track and cross county under head coaches Tyler Schaad and Ryan Werry. Pate lettered all four years running cross country, and coach Schaad talked about Pate’s growth over the past four years.

“He’s someone who always puts in the work,” Schaad said. “He never complains about anything. He keeps his nose down and goes hard, whenever he needs to. He’s a great kid and a great student, which is probably the most important thing. I’m just glad he can be a good student-athlete, at the next level. He’s just made so many strides.

As for his goals running cross country at the next level, Pate wants to enjoy himself and not take anything for granted. He also said he wants to be remembered at Warren as someone who had a good time growing as an athlete.

“I want to fit in with the team and have a good time. I definitely would like to be on the varsity team, by the time I’m an upperclassmen,” Pate remarked. “I think I was born with that kind of consistency, because I don’t have as much speed. What I lack in there, I make up for it in endurance. I just always run to the pace and stick with it.”

Coach Werry gave his thoughts about how Pate will be remembered for his time at WHS.

“For the most part, Justin was pretty consistent in being in our top five. When you look at what he did for us in this year, he really stepped out,” Werry said. “Our boys were pretty successful. We were undefeated in the regular season, and he was a part of that. He finished in the top 20 at the Broughton, he was a medalist at Vinton County and he was in the top five in every race we had. He improved every year, and he finally reached one of his goals. That was to reach the district level, and he was on the all-district team.”

The string of good results for the Warriors helped Pate achieve all-ECOL honors, and the team was just one spot away from reaching the state cross country meet. Still, it was a year to remember for the ever-improving Pate. His biggest memory he’ll take with him is when a scoring error almost dashed the team’s undefeated regular season. Then, the unthinkable happened.

“At our Fort Frye meet, earlier this year, the final result said we lost by two points,” he said. “But a chip read wrong, and we actually won by two points. That’s my favorite memory. We had won our first three meets of the season, so we came in and ran pretty well. The results came in, and they said we were down. We were all disappointed because of our undefeated season, but then, they came over the intercom and made the announcement.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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