Warrior senior doing it all

Published 8:16 pm Saturday, January 8, 2011

Triple jump: Nansemond River senior Ricky Blake finished second in the triple jump with a top mark of 46-feet-3.25 Friday at the Southeastern District Invitational indoor meet at the Boo Williams Sportsplex.

HAMPTON – Ricky Blake’s been one of the state’s best triple jumpers for going on three years. Blake, now a senior at Nansemond River, has finished in the top five in the state in each of the last four (two indoor and two outdoor) Group AAA state championship meets.

It would be understandable if Blake focused entirely on a state championship in his best event in his last few months as a Warrior.

Instead, Blake’s branching out, to say the least.

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Friday evening at the Southeastern District Invitational Blake finished second in the triple jump with a best jump of 46-feet-3.25. It wasn’t his top showing as he’s reached marks in the 48-foot range before.

Blake’s work was far from done so he had no time to fret, not that it’s in his personality anyway.

“I’m only in the triple jump and the long jump, and probably the 4-by-200 relay if the coach (Franco Britt) wants me to be in the relay,” Blake said.

Early in the indoor season Blake’s also competed in the high jump and shot put. The three jumping events usually draw some of the same athletes competing in all three. A triple jumper and shot putter though is an extremely rare combo.

“I don’t recall ever hearing of it before,” Blake said.

“I want to get to the point where I can see if I can do the decathalon. I used to do the pentathalon when I was around 12, in AAU meets, so I already have a feeling of how to do it,” Blake said.

A decathalon includes track events such as the 100 and 400 meters, hurdles and the 1,500.

“By this outdoor season I want to be at 10.6 (seconds) in the 100 and around 48-49 seconds in the 400,” Blake said.

“I run the 1,500 sometimes in practice with the distance runners. Even for what I’m doing now (in meets) it helps my endurance and makes me keep my wind up,” he said.

Virginia high school meets don’t include multi-event competitions such as pentathalons or decathalons; so at least for that idea, Blake’s looking longer down the road.

The many different goals, not to mention the practice and work that makes any of it, let alone all of it, possible for Blake can be partially attributed to his attitude. Blake exudes almost as much energy as his jumps, distances and times demand.

“Some (of the new events) are my idea. Some are coach’s idea, because our team needs the extra points,” Blake said.

“In the shot put, I know I’m not a big guy but I can throw with the football guys pretty well. In football I was on the offensive line in some games at 150-something pounds. That doesn’t matter too much though. It’s all mental,” he said.

Blake’s best shot put result so far is 42-feet-6.75 in a district meet on Dec. 9. He didn’t enter the shot put Friday as it went on simultaneously as the triple jump. If Blake posted the same distance it would’ve placed him seventh overall and fourth among Southeastern District athletes.

The multitude of track events and football season dictated tons of time and lots of training, but as Blake says, smart training is as important as how much or how intense it is.

“With football, it’s a lot of heavy weights. You want to get bigger. With track, we lift weights, but it’s light weights. It’s all about speed,” he said.

Until football wrapped up in early November Blake was practicing both. He had the energy, just not the hours in the day, for more on his usual schedule.

“I’m not able to get a job with all the practicing. I’ve got to keep my grades right for school,” Blake said.