By Matt Locke

BARLOW - Halle Richards is just beginning her running career, but already the 13-year-old athlete from the Warren junior high program is making waves.

Richards set an Ohio junior high state meet record in the 1,600 with a time of 5:19, besting the former record of 5:22. This season, Richards ran the 400, 800 and 1,600. The junior high star also runs cross country and plays basketball for the Warriors.

Running is second nature to Richards, whose brother and father both compete. Halle’s brother, Wesley, was a member of Warren’s 4-by-800 team that took fifth place in the Division II state meet this year in Columbus. Wesley provides a lot of motivation for the youngster.

He kind of just pushes me and it’s kind of like a competition, Halle said. He just makes me want to be better.

Competing year-round, Richards has already set goals for the upcoming cross country and track seasons. For cross country, Richards wants to get her time into the high 11- to low 12-minute range. In track, she’s aiming for a low 5-minute time in the 1,600-meter event.

The Warriors distance specialist enjoys the shorter distance of track events and the large number of teammates makes it more fun as well. Richards enjoys the scenery of cross country and notes the absence of running in circles as a refreshing change of pace.

Motivation from her dad and brother have helped Richards along, but for the state meet she owes a lot of success to her coach Dan Foy.

He just kind of tells me what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it, Richards said. He set a program up for me to train for the state meet, which was a month after our season ended.

In last Saturday’s Chuck Cornelius Memorial 5K event, Richards took top honors in the women’s division, finishing with a time of 21:55. The Warrior runner will continue to prepare for cross country by competing in the Belpre Scholarship 5K and The Parkersburg News and Sentinel two-mile event.