Warrior ends rough season on high note
Published 8:45 pm Saturday, June 4, 2011
RICHMOND — Nansemond River senior Ricky Blake shows every bit of his emotion when he competes in the triple jump.
From the first attempt in the preliminary round, he needs anyone around in the stands and even his fellow competitors to clap in rhythm as he’s readying to jump. When an opponent bests his mark, Blake is the first to be genuinely happy and congratulate him.
So when Blake calls his last couple months of competition, “horrible,” it’s eye-opening.
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“The outdoor season’s been horrible, up until today,” Blake said.
On Saturday in the VHSL Group AAA State Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Blake finished his Warrior career placing fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 47-feet-0.25.
Blake’s beat that mark before, but not this outdoor season. Blake’s regularly been a nationally-ranked triple jumper during his high school career, which made his recent struggles tougher to take.
“I was ranked seventh going into regions and I don’t know, 15th or seventh or something, for states. I’m not used to being that far down,” Blake said.
Blake and the Warrior track team have been “trench troopers” this season. “It’s all about going hard. If you’re in last place, go hard. No matter what, go hard. If you’re tired, go hard.”
Blake hit his best jump and moved, at the time, into second place with his last jump in the finals.
Given Blake’s track and field career is far from over, even as his high school career closes, makes his leap in the right direction in states more than just a moral victory.
This summer, Blake’s joining a club in Petersburg and will be competing in decathlons. He’s done pentathlons since age 12 and graduated to decathlons in AAU and national events at 15. A decathlon, usually in two days, is the long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin, 1,500 meters, 400, 100 and 110-meter hurdles.
While still counting his experience in the discus, javelin and pole vault as pretty low, Blake’s finished as high as fourth in the nation in the AAU Junior Olympics.
Beyond the summer, Blake’s going on to a collegiate career with prospects at Norfolk State, Virginia State and St. Augustine’s on his list.
Wherever Blake goes, his new team will be get someone who can do anything on the track or on the field, and still have energy and passion to spare.