Marietta’s Ciara Space signs with Marshall cross country, track teams
Marietta High senior Ciara Space is used to being busy.
Along with her high school academics, Space attended Washington State Community College the past two years and will graduate with an associates degree. Athletically, Space trains around 15 hours a week, including running 300 miles during the summer time. All of her hard work should help ease the transition into a student-athlete at the collegiate level.
Wednesday at Don Drumm Stadium, Space signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross country and track at Marshall University. She plans to major in biological sciences (pre-med route).
“It’s really thrilling,” Space said. “The fact that they’re Division I, it is big. But to me, going to any other school, it wouldn’t matter if I was going to a Division II or Division III school. I worked just as hard.”
Jeff Small is the head coach of Marshall’s cross country and track programs. Space has met some of the coaching staff through Facetime and phone calls, but hasn’t been able to meet them in person due to COVID-19 restrictions “which is part of the reason why I am signing so late in the season,” she said. “It’s really hard to decide when you can’t physically get there to know someone. From what I can tell through online communication, they seem like they have a strong program there.”
The Thundering Herd are getting a phenomenal athlete in Space. She’s a regional qualifier in cross country at the Ohio Division I level. Her PR is 8 minutes, 19.25 seconds. In track, she’s specialized in the 800 this spring. Her best time is 2:24, one second behind the school record of 2:23. She also runs in the 1600, 4×400 and 4×800. She’s hoping to make it to regional in multiple events.
“We have a really hard regional,” Space said. “We race in Pickerington. To be a little, tiny, one of the smallest Division I schools competing with a bunch Columbus schools, it’s just an honor to be there.”
There’s a grind that goes into being an elite distance runner, and Space has put the time in and then some.
“Cross country starts in the fall, so summer training is the probably the most important thing that you can do,” Space said. “I think that’s where a lot of people make a mistake. I run close to 300 miles every summer just to get in shape for cross country. The rest of the year, I train probably 15 hours a week, year round.”
Space has been one of Marietta’s top contributors this track season.
Friday, she’ll lead the Tigers into the East Central Ohio League Championship meet at Don Drumm. Then, the district and regional meets await.
Space thanked the many coaches she’s had over the years, in particular Abby Ketelson. Ketelson is a current assistant and former runner for the Tigers.
“The only coach that I’ve had since I was in sixth grade that’s still here is Abby Ketelson,” Space said. “She’s been a big help to me. She’s just had me all the way through middle school because she ended up moving to the high school when I started high school. It just kind of worked out all the way through.”
Space is excited to get to Huntington, W.Va., and join the Thundering Herd. She will have fond memories of her time wearing the orange and black.
“I am grateful for everyone that has been supporting me throughout the years,” she said. “I’m really proud to have been part of this program here at Marietta.”
Jordan Holland can be reached at email@example.com.