It’s Prater and Jacobs, Jacobs and Prater, Prater and Jacobs … and down the stretch they come, two friends, big-time rivals and a pair of hurdlers who have become quite adept at their trade.
Garaway senior Carly Jacobs and Ridgewood senior Alexis Prater have gone to battle in the 100-meter hurdles more than they can even remember.
However, not only are they rivals on the track, off of it they are great friends and hurdling partners during training. While Prater also competes in the 100 meters, Jacobs moves on to the 300-meter hurdles, where each also have found all kinds of success.
On Friday, May 17 at St. Clairsville in the Div. III district meet, the two got into the blocks and went at it again in the 100-meter hurdles as they continue their chase for a return to Columbus.
Jacobs turned in a sizzling time of 15.07, just inches in front of Prater, who turned in a runner-up time of 15.18.
Over the past years Prater has won her fair share of the 100-meter hurdle races the two have run together, but this time it was Jacobs’ turn.
Prater turned around and placed second in the 100 meters behind All-Ohioan Zoe Moser of Malvern, Moser winning 12.44 to Prater’s 12.69.
Jacobs burned the competition in the 300-meter hurdles, nothing new in her world, where she posted a winning time of 44.60, way ahead of runner-up Grace Gottwalt of Ridgewood’s 48.02.
Capping off her day, Prater anchored Ridgewood’s winning 4-by-200 relay team’s winning time of 51.20, where she staved off the hard-charging Moser. Jacobs anchored the Lady P’s runner-up spot in the 4-by-400 relay.
“We’ve trained together for a long time, and it is really great because we train once a week together,” Prater said. “We know what we are capable of running, and we have learned to really push each other and make each other better.”
“No matter how we finish and who wins, we enjoy the chance to compete and to train together because we are getting better every time we do it,” Jacobs said. “We are friendly competitors in meets, but when it comes down to it, we both really want to win. We are both so competitive.”
“You want to say good luck and wish the other the best, but then when it comes right down to it, you know you want to win,” Prater said with a laugh.
Both train with Triway coach Dan Oliver, who has definitely brought the best out of each runner. Oliver ran at Ohio State University and eventually qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but sadly that was the year the United States boycotted the Olympics in Russia.
“He has older techniques, which I think actually helps us,” Prater said. “He has really helped us a lot.”
Jacobs said they often joke around, saying it would be much easier if they simply joined the other’s team, which would allow them to train together every day. However, she said they cherish the time they do have to work together.
“She makes it easy to root for her because of the person she is,” Jacobs said of Prater. Prater then returned that sentiment.
In 2017 Jacobs, who was then a sophomore, turned in a state-podium performance, placing eighth in the 100-meter hurdles while just missing out on doubling down in her specialty, the 300-meter hurdles.
Last year both hurdlers found themselves at state, where it would be Prater’s turn to reap the benefits of standing on the podium as an All-Ohioan, placing fourth while Jacobs was 12th. Jacobs did find her way to the podium in the 300-meter hurdles, placing second.
As they move into districts, they know they will have the challenge of running against one another yet again, yet they also know they will have the undying support of each other.
“We are rivals, but we are also friends, so that will always make competing something special,” Jacobs said.
The two even took a look at attending the same college until they decided to go their separate ways. Prater will head to Youngstown State while Jacobs will be off to compete at Ohio University.
Who knows? They could well compete against one another at the next level. Oddly they both nearly chose attending Wheeling Jesuit.