Colbi Borland made certain she wouldn't forget her first high school race.
The Big Walnut senior and Lipscomb University commit, who collected more than a dozen OCC-Capital Division titles combined in cross country and track and field, still has a memento from her first cross country meet, the 2016 Dan Reid Invitational at Whitehall.
Her father, Ryan, the girls cross country coach at Westerville Central, reminded her of its importance.
"Instead of medals, they gave us dog tags, and I remember my dad told me that I should write down my time on a sticky note and stick it on the back (of the dog tag)," said Borland, who will compete in both cross country and track at Lipscomb. "I'm kind of glad I did because it was my first ever 5K."
Borland placed sixth of 110 runners in that race. Her time of 21 minutes, 5.01 seconds was far from memorable, but there would be many more races to come for Borland, who leaves Big Walnut as its most accomplished female distance runner.
In track, she holds program records in the 1,600 meters (5:12.49) and 3,200 (11:12.98) and is a member of the record-holding 3,200 relay (9:38.58). Her program record in cross country, 18:30.3, is 63 seconds better than the second-fastest time.
Borland, who set the program record in the 3,200 when she placed sixth in the Division I regional meet last year at Pickerington North to fall two spots shy of a state berth, held out hope that she would be able to finish her prep track career this spring, but the spring sports season was initially postponed March 13 and ultimately canceled April 20 by the OHSAA because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"At first, it didn't really hit me," said Borland, a three-time regional qualifier in track. "But a few weeks after they called (the season), it began to sink in, and I was kind of upset. I kept seeing flashbacks from prior seasons and began thinking about where we might be competing this weekend or next weekend. It started to hit me hard once we got into May."
According to girls track coach Joe Evener, Borland was primed to have a strong senior season. She placed sixth in the 3,200 (program-record 11:05.08) in the state indoor meet March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva and also set indoor program records in the 800 (2:26.35) and 1,600 (5:13.01) this past winter.
"She broke (indoor) school records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200," Evener said. "She owns every individual indoor race record to go along with her outdoor records."
Those records haven't come without preparation and determination.
Athletics director Brian Shelton recalls passing Borland in the hallway at the end of a frigid winter school day in 2018. She was bundled up in winter running gear, ready to put in some miles.
"I thought to myself, 'This is why Colbi is Colbi,' " Shelton said on the school's athletics website. "She has the work ethic that outpaces her competition. You will not find many people running outside on a day like it was that day."
Borland closed out her prep cross country career last fall by placing 33rd (18:57.9) of 183 runners in the Division I state meet at National Trails Raceway. She was a three-time state qualifier and a four-time regional qualifier and captured four OCC-Capital Division championships, winning last fall's title in 19:06.1, 35.3 seconds ahead of runner-up Allena Klamorick of Canal Winchester.
Cross country coach Kevin Lewis is certain Borland would've added to her league title count this spring.
"She would have won her fourth OCC title in the 1,600, 3,200 and 3,200 relay and would have added the 800 for good measure," Lewis said on the school's athletics website. "Counting cross country, that would have added up to 17 conference championships. Guess we will have to settle for the 13 that she has."