Now that she's taken the final laps of her college track and field career, Rachel Weber isn't sure exactly where her future lies.

She knows, though, that being an ambassador for a sport that has given her so much is probably inevitable.

"I love running and I want other people to love running, too," Weber said.

A 2013 Dublin Coffman High School graduate, Weber completed her athletic career at Ohio State after achieving a college-long goal by advancing to the NCAA Division I track and field championships June 7-10 in Eugene, Oregon.

She capped her college career with a 14th-place finish in the 800 meters (2 minutes, 5.99 seconds) on June 8 to earn second-team All-America honors.

Weber, who was an academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree a year ago, is studying electrical and computer engineering and has one more year left as a student.

Her interests beyond college are wide-ranging, but likely will involve running.

"After I graduate, I would love to work for a shoe company in their innovation lab and design shoes and performance apparel," Weber said. "I think that would be really fun. After that (I'd like to) teach high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or AP (advanced placement) math and coach track and cross country. That would just be a blast. That would be the dream job.

"I just think the design behind (shoes) is so interesting, and in running, it's about the little things and getting the little things right in order to get the big end result. I'm a detail-oriented person when it comes to my running, so shoes are one of those details, and it's really important to get them right and to give someone the ability that (they) can be a healthy runner."

Weber competed at the state cross country meet three times, including as a senior in 2012 when she placed 46th (18:59.18) and the Shamrocks finished sixth overall.

It was in middle distance, though, that she truly found her niche.

"I like (the 800) because it's a combination of strength and speed," Weber said. "You have to have the grit that the 10K runners need. It's a longer distance. You still get the adrenaline rush from having it be kind of a shorter race. It's just the perfect combination for what I love about running."

Weber was a four-time state qualifier in track, with her best finish coming as a senior in 2013 when she placed third in the 800 (2:11.9). She finished 11th in the 800 (2:18.88) as a sophomore and helped the 3,200 relay finish eighth (9:22.91) as a junior.

Weber still remembers how she felt the first time she made state as a freshman, when she placed ninth in the 800 (2:15.74) and helped the 1,600 relay finish 14th (3:59.4).

The fact that the state meet is held at Ohio State is not lost on Weber.

"I've been running on this track for eight years, which is incredible," she said, referring to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. "This track was like the end all, be all, the magic track. This was the end goal, and I keep waiting for that to wear off and feel like, 'Oh, this is just Jesse Owens.' But the really cool part about going to Ohio State is that that still hasn't worn out. I still love it so much and it's still just as special as when I was a freshman (in high school) and ran my first state meet on it. I think that's really cool."

Weber saw her college career take steps forward the last four years.

She placed ninth in the 800 at the Big Ten Conference meet as a freshman in 2014 and eighth in the conference meet as a sophomore in 2015.

Then as a junior in 2016, she ran the second-fastest 800 (2:05.12) in program history while winning the Jesse Owens Classic before finishing ninth (2:15.07) at the Big Ten meet.

As a senior, she advanced to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 800, placing 16th (2:10.76) on March 10 at Texas A&M.

She then posted the two fastest times in program history during outdoor season, running a school-record 2:03.9 in the qualifying round of the Big Ten meet May 13 before earning a runner-up finish (2:04.45) the next day.

At the NCAA East preliminaries May 26 in Lexington, Kentucky, Weber lowered her personal-best and program-record time by more than one second (2:02.67) to qualify for the championships.

"She's a fantastic young woman," said Brice Allen, Ohio State's associate head coach who coaches distance and cross country. "She's a great student and she'll be sorely missed."

Weber's sister, Ellie, completed her junior season at Coffman by finishing 11th in the 3,200 (11:32.22) in the Division I regional meet May 26 at Pickerington North, and her sister Anna, a 2015 Coffman graduate, was a distance runner in high school as well.

Their mother, Christine, competed in track at Ohio State and their father, Todd, ran track in high school.

"Definitely, the coolest part about my college career is the number of people that have had to pour into me and give time and energy and really care about my career just as much as I care about it," Weber said.

"The reason my career has continued to improve is that my teammates are super selfless. What a great experience.

"My mom actually ran here at Ohio State for a couple years, but (my parents) were really good about not pushing us. Finally, I was like, 'Maybe this whole running thing is pretty fun.' They're awesome and have always been super supportive."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek