Woodridge senior distance star Drake Sulzer (right) has proven time and again that he is an elite runner. Sulzer, seen here at the PTC Championships, placed fourth at state and is our SportsInk.com Athlete of the Week.
Woodridge senior cross country standout Drake Sulzer is the SportsInk.com Athlete of Week for Nov. 6-12.
Sulzer recently completed his prep career placing fourth (146 runners) at the OHSAA Div. II cross country championship meet on Nov. 5 at Hebron's National Trail Raceway. Sulzer was clocked at 15:54.85 over the 5,000-meter course.
“I was really excited to place fourth and take 15 seconds off my time from last year,” Sulzer said. "Breaking 16 -- that was my biggest goal for my senior year."
The Bulldogs were fourth as a team as well, trailing only champion Springfield Shawnee, St. Vincent-St. Mary and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
Woodridge coach Jeff Howard and Sulzer first met when young Drake was at a babysitter's house. The Howards and the Sulzers used the same care giver.
“He is just an outstanding athlete and person. I’ve known him all of his life,” Howard said.
It didn't take long for Howard to interest Sulzer in running.
As a sixth grader, Sulzer knew competitive running was something he wanted to pursue. In seventh grade, Sulzer was fully immersed in the sport and realized he wanted to be a part of the Woodridge tradition.
“They had such a rich history that I wanted to be a part of it," he said.
He was the 2011 Akron Division II District champion at Goodyear Heights Metro Park on Oct. 22, logging a time of 16:52. His junior season, Sulzer placed 12th at the state meet when the Bulldogs won their fifth straight team state title. As a sophomore, he was 40th at the state meet.
“He had the determination to win. He was easy to coach, but I will miss him a lot,” Howard said. “Watching him grow up has been a joy for me."
Sulzer is more than a distance running star at Woodridge and is committed to helping the school through student government and student council.
Howard went on to say that Sulzer’s "unorthodox" running from will be missed at practices and meets.
“Well a kind of wobble and lean forward, not normal but it works," kidded Sulzer.
There is no doubt about that.
Cross Country/Track & Field
TV: Storage Wars
Movie: Inside Man
Home Cooking: Pork chops
Running Shoes: Mizuno
Bucket List: Skiing in the Fuji Mountains