On the fast trackPublished 11:09pm Saturday, July 5, 2014
Twenty-three-year-old Keith Ricks is on a positive trajectory in the world of track and field.
He has gone from being a King’s Fork High School and Virginia Tech star to a professional athlete, competing in events around the world, chasing an Olympic dream.
He recently took a positive stride toward that dream with his performance at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif. He placed fifth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.51 seconds.
“I felt really great about my performance,” Ricks said. Referring to the 20.39-second mark he produced in the semi-finals, he added, “Coming away with a personal best, I’m very excited to see that.”
He said he expected to do well, but was a little surprised, too, because it is so early in the professional season.
King’s Fork track and field coach Marvin Ricks, who is his older brother and coach, got what he expected from his younger brother, whom he praised as a consistent competitor.
“I think he did a great job,” the elder Ricks said. “It was good to see him make that final.”
It was the second such championship that Keith Ricks had participated in, including when he ran in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He said that back then, he made it to the semi-finals in the 200.
The top three runners in the finals make the Olympic team, leaving him two places away after his performance this year.
“One of my main goals is to make the 2016 Olympic Team,” Ricks said.
He seems well on his way. Only competitors with the top 24 times in the 200 were allowed to compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships, meaning Ricks is a top runner in the country, and his coach even went beyond that designation.
“He’s definitely one of the top sprinters in the world, actually,” Marvin Ricks said, affirming that his brother’s training is specifically geared toward his being part of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Keith Ricks is certainly getting a chance to showcase his talents all over the globe. This year alone, he has raced in Germany, Great Britain, China and all over the U.S.
“Just this past week, I’ve raced in Africa, I’ve raced in Switzerland,” he said.
He has come a long way from where he started, first competing in Surry as a high school sophomore and then transferring to King’s Fork, where he owns every sprint record.
“I enjoy being a representative of Suffolk and Surry,” he said. “King’s Fork definitely set up the great foundation that I needed in high school.”
Ricks’ busy schedule continues this week as he competes in Budapest, Scotland and Austria.