“I’m glad it happened like that,” said Rocha. “I was a little hesitant at first but I knew I wanted to be with that pack. That was the plan, stick in the top 10 and see how I feel.”
Rohrer recovered from an early fall and joined the pack of six as Williams fell back. The group worked together, finished two miles around 11:10 as Rohrer took control. Rocha stuck with the pack, opting to make her push on the second hill.
“We did a lot of hill work this summer and I wanted to use the hill to my advantage,” said Rocha. “I felt really good after that. Off the hill there’s a little ways before the finish and I really started going with about 200 to go.”
Rocha was in fourth coming off the hill as the leaders hit the 3-mile mark at 16:47. She drew on increased strength and confidence to make an inspiring push on the last straightaway, leaving everything she had on the course.
“I’m pretty tired,” admitted Rocha, who celebrates her 18th birthday today.
One of Foot Locker’s Webcast analysts marveled at Rocha’s finish, saying that the type of kid that can kick like she did after such a steep hill is the gutsy kid you want on your team when the chips are down.
Exactly the type of kid that Peabody is thrilled to have on theirs.