KF’s Ricks hurdling to Barton
Published 9:14 pm Friday, July 31, 2015
The athletic genes in the Ricks family did not skip a generation.
Recently graduated King’s Fork High School track and field standout Courtney Ricks is following in the footsteps of her parents, who earned the opportunity to participate in the sport beyond high school.
Earlier this month, Ricks signed to compete for Barton College, which is located in Wilson, N.C.
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“It feels good to keep the legacy going, still showing how talent can be passed down the line,” Ricks said.
She started seriously thinking about competing at the college level during her high school years. Her uncle, Keith Ricks, who runs professionally all over the world, helped kick-start the thought process.
“Just seeing my uncle travel all the way to China and bringing back souvenirs, it made me think I want to do the same thing,” Courtney Ricks said.
That does not mean that athletics have monopolized her focus during the college selection process, however. Academics have been the primary concern.
“We like her competing in sports, but we need her to further her education, and if she can do both things that she likes at once, that’s just an extra benefit,” said Marvin Ricks, her father and coach.
Her mother and coach, Ruchelle Ricks, shared a similar perspective when she said she is very proud of her daughter and happy about the athletic opportunity at Barton.
“But I’m also excited about her going to school and pursuing what she wants to do, which is become a pharmacist,” she said.
Courtney Ricks plans to major in chemistry.
She said some other schools she was thinking of going to included Hampton University and George Mason University, but she ended up choosing Barton because it has smaller class sizes, allowing teachers more one-on-one opportunities with students.
Ricks will receive a partial academic and partial athletic scholarship.
Her father said she aided her standing as a track recruit by producing personal records in events, which she said included the 55- and 100-meter hurdles.
Marvin Ricks said the coach at Barton knew his daughter had made a name for herself with good times but did not know his daughter’s family history, initially.
“But then when she found out who she was affiliated with, all the bells and whistles went off, because my brother just happens to be one of the top sprinters in the United States, my wife was a member of the 1996 U.S. Virgin Islands Olympic team and I have a long history of competing and coaching, as well,” he said. “So, it’s kind of like scratching up a lottery ticket, and you realize you’ve hit a million dollars.”
Ruchelle Ricks was able to have a brief conversation with Barton women’s track and field coach Karen Godlock about how she plans to utilize Courtney Ricks’ talents.
“She I guess was kind of replacing her hurdlers, so she thought that Courtney would be a great fit for her team,” Ruchelle Ricks said.
Courtney Ricks’ senior year featured the first instances of her running the 55 and 100 hurdles, but she has been running the 300-meter hurdles for a few years.
“She has a little experience,” Ruchelle Ricks said. “She still has a lot of room to grow.”
Courtney Ricks, who has continued training during the summer, is already thinking of getting a head start with that at school. She has orientation at Barton College on Aug. 12, but she said, “I might go a day early for track.”