Fall Athlete of the Year: Sam Deskin

 Sam Deskin 

Cross country

Boardman (Senior)

Sam Deskin was the top senior returning in the Federal League in 2009 after finishing third in the 2008 Federal meet in 16:11.85 and a Boardman school-best 12th at state. Over the summer, the All-Ohioan placed third in the Midwest Race of Champions at Hilliard Darby in a personal-best 15:42, which was second-best all-time for a Spartan cross country runner.

Deskin was the favorite headed into the Federal League championships on Oct. 17, but contracted swine flu. Tried to run with 103-degree temperature, but was pulled out of the event. At the regional, Sam was about 14th at the 1.5-mile mark, likely to finish in the top 10, but dislocated a ligament in his ankle and finished the race hobbling.

“It’s unfortunate because, going in, he was looking forward to being the first Boardman runner to be a Federal League champion,” coach John Phillips said. “My heart goes out to the kid because of the way he works. To have that happen was terrible.” The following week at district he wasn’t 100 percent, but he qualified for regional at Boardman. “The illness was gone, but he rolled his ankle at the two-mile mark ...nce, on his way to state and when came back away from field, dropped and I knew something was wrong. That was his last race as a senior. Those were the two most important races to him, but they overshadowed what he accomplished otherwise. He was clearly one of the best cross country runners in school history.”

“It was a tough-luck year,” said Dave Pavlansky, who coached Deskin as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

Although the 18-year-old’s final cross country season ended prematurely, Deskin is training for the indoor season which starts soon and will segue into the track season in the spring. Sam was the Federal League champion in the 1600 last spring in 4:20.

The son of Dan and Kathy Deskin of Boardman handles the duality of his sport. “I call myself a cross country guy, but when track season rolls around I tend to like that more, so I guess it comes with the season.”

After the state 2008 state meet, Deskin participated in the Footlocker Midwest regional in Kenosha, Wisc. In June, 2006, between his freshman and sophomore years, Deskin finished fifth out of 35 in the freshman mile at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina.

“That was good competition,” Deskin said of the freshman mile, but you can find caliber meets in Ohio too.”

The 5-8, 130 Deskin said that YSU is definitely one of top final choices. When Deskin isn’t in school or training, he’s working at Second Sole in Boardman.

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