EL's Roth wins national title

Eagle's Landing rising sophomore Bailey Roth made a name for himself this spring while running in the shadows of senior Zack Sims.

Now that Sims has graduated and is heading to the University of Georgia to start his collegiate running career, the spotlight belongs to Roth.

And he appears more than ready to handle it.

Roth won a national championship in the mile at the New Balance

Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. Friday. He had a time of four minutes, 20.25 seconds on the North Carolina A&T University's Irwin Belk Track in the freshmen division.

"This was a big inspiration for me," Roth said via cellphone as he was making the six-hour trek back to McDonough. "I'm definitely happy with my outcome."

He followed the national championship with a third place finish in the two-mile with a time of 9:28 to win his heat.

"There were two heats of the race," Roth said. "I thought if I would have been in the second one, I could have ran a little faster. Overall, I'm happy with the runs."

Sims, running in his final high school meet, was 12th in the 5,000-meters with a time of 15:28 among 20 runners.

"This was a good weekend," Eagle's Landing coach Claude Spinks said. "It was an awesome, unreal feeling with Bailey winning it. He had a great run. Zack had a great time in the 5,000. He really hasn't train for it, but he was going on talent and strength."

Athletes for the three-day meet were accepted on credentials after applying for the elite competition of competitors from across the country.

There will be little rest for Roth when he gets back home, because he will compete in the 3,000 and 1,500 at the USA Track and Field Georgia Association State Championship at Starr's Mill High.

This past spring, Roth finished sixth in the 1,600 at the Class AAA state meet and was fourth in the 3,200. Sims was runner-up in both as Eagle's Landing finished fourth overall as a team.

Later this summer, Roth will begin training for the upcoming cross country season. He missed the entire season last year because of illness.

"I'm definitely looking forward to cross country," Roth said. "I was definitely ready for this meet. I feel it has given me a lot of confidence."