KFHS runner sets school record

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

King's Fork senior Miguel Ramos practices on Wednesday after having eclipsed his own school record with an 18:09.64 performance in Tuesday's Southeastern District meet at Bells Mill Park.

A Southeastern District cross-country meet on Tuesday ended in a mixture of disappointment, hope and even joy for King’s Fork High School’s boys’ team.

There was disappointment in the ninth-place finish out of 10 teams competing. There was hope based on the improvement the team showed from previous meets. But most of all, there was joy as a result of senior Miguel Ramos’ finish, which set a school record.

Ramos turned in a time of 18:09.64, beating the previous school record, which he set last year.

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“I had met Miguel last year with track and field,” Bulldogs cross country coach Marvin Ricks said. “He’s kind of like a late bloomer, if you will. He had some fair times last year, but after seeing what he did with track and field, I knew his times could get a lot better with cross country, so he’s still just scratching the surface.”

Ramos’ Tuesday time was good enough for 18th in a field of 136 runners. Ramos indicated that as the run was in progress, he felt like it was going to produce his best time. Cutting that time even more is on his mind going forward.

“Just keeping myself motivated to run every day to improve upon my performances,” he said.

Ricks, who shares coaching duties with his wife, Ruchelle, said all of King’s Fork’s runners will continue to improve as they gain a proper understanding of the sport.

This is Marvin Ricks’ first year as a high school cross-country coach, having coached on the collegiate level at Norfolk State University.

“So, starting out, you just want to try to use the first year to get them in the best shape as possible,” he said. “And try to convert them into understanding that running is a lifestyle.”

That means runners should ideally be putting in 40 to 50 miles of weekly running year-around. This work extends endurance and helps runners wage the battle against their mind, which urges them to give up early. This factor is what differentiates cross-country from track for Ramos.

“It’s definitely a lot more mental in terms of the running,” he said. “It’s definitely a lot more strategic, for me, and just the whole practice mentality is different than in track.”

“The most difficult part of dealing with the high school level is getting the base conditioning in during the summer,” he said. “The competitions don’t really start until school begins, but by then, most good cross country coaches have about four to six weeks worth of work already in, of pure distance work.”

Because many of the King’s Fork kids came back late, Ricks said, they did not get that jump on the regular season.

“We’re still in our base training now,” he said, “primarily because you can’t move them along too quickly, so you just take what you get. Build the base, and get whatever people you can get out of it.”

Aside from Ramos, the King’s Fork teams do not yet have any real standouts, but Ricks figures changing that is just a matter of time and work.

“Seeing that we’re just in our base period, hopefully by the time we get to championships, we will have some real standouts on the guys’ and girls’ side,” he said. “A lot of them have a lot of potential, but the key to potential is getting the work out of it.”

That potential is beginning to be tapped as the numbers from previous meets are compared to Tuesday’s.

“Miguel ran like 18:13 on Saturday and came back and ran 18:09 (on Tuesday),” Ricks said. “So, I said, ‘OK, the times are coming down, and everybody’s time dropped. Some of the freshmen dropped two or three minutes, so the conditioning’s starting to kick in.”

“I hope to be running in the 16s,” Ramos said.

“He’s on a good track,” Ricks said. “He’s got a little bit more time to drop, but between now and the completion of outdoor track and field, he should be a highly recruited student.”

King’s Fork has its next district meet Tuesday at Bells Mill Park.