Roswell’s Rookie of the Year, Christian Jimenez

Jimenez has shown grit on the course, showcasing his hard work behind the scenes. Photo by: Christy Jimenez

Jimenez has shown grit on the course, showcasing his hard work behind the scenes. Photo by: Christy Jimenez

Tara Goff, Staff Writer

Summing up his initial reaction, Coach Nieman, boys’ cross country coach, used the word “thankful.” When the 2020 cross country season started, none of the coaches expected for a new star to be coming to the team. Christian Jimenez, freshman, wowed Roswell cross country with an impressive season, climbing the ranks in Roswell’s fastest 5k times, becoming the second fastest freshman boy in the state, and being recognized as the GHSA 7A Region 5 Freshman of the Year.

The All-Region team consists of the top seven runners from the Region 5 7A XC Championship meet, which is held at Boling Park in Canton, Georgia. Jimenez placed sixth in the meet with a time of 16:23, earning six points for Roswell. In cross country, team scores come from the top five runners per team, the number of points being based on the place they get. The lowest score wins. For more on the results from the meet, read here.

Despite this impressive performance, it still was not Jimenez’s best time of the season. His personal record is a 16:09, putting him in the third spot for Roswell boys’ fastest 5k XC times. To make it to the top, Jimenez will need to run faster than 15:50, the record currently held by Drew Kelly, who set the bar high in 2012. Nieman says he “100% believe Christian will break the school record. If he doesn’t, I may have to quit coaching, because then I’d be doing something wrong.”

Even with this glory, Jimenez simply has fun being part of the team; he joined after enjoying his time on the Roswell Junior Hornets cross country team in middle school. He says it’s “like family. We sweat together, we race together, we root for each other, and I love how much we can relate to each other, especially in race time and training.”

Hopefully, Jimenez’s upcoming track season will hold just as much promise as his first year on the cross country team. So far he has run the 800 meter race and the 1600 meter race, so he is part of the mid-distance and distance teams. He mentions how he prefers these events much more than the sprints. Also exciting, his mom, Christy Jimenez, is now a track coach. She used to coach cross country and has experience running in Europe, and the two have very similar personal records. Jimenez notes that in the past his mom has helped him “know how to train, how to handle pressure, and how to race. She’s pretty much been a coach to me this whole time, so it doesn’t feel too different now, it’s just a little more official.”

Jimenez has his sights set on running in college and “from there we’ll see what happens.” He hopes that in getting to that point he will break more school records and the team will become state champions for cross country. Nieman wants to help him get there, and plans to “support him and give him the best training plans” possible.

For more on the upcoming Track and Field season, read here. Also read up on girls’ Track and cross country star Melanie Tribick.