A passion for running makes East Meck junior a contender
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Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014

A passion for running makes East Meck junior a contender

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/07/13/56/18LmDz.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - JAY EDWARDS
    East Mecklenburg’s Fisher Ramsey had established himself as a track standout in middle school but had a rough transition to cross country at East Meck High. He said he now believes he is a contender in every race.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/07/13/56/1110WS.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - JAY EDWARDS
    East Mecklenburg’s Fisher Ramsey.
  • Six track athletes to watch

    Boys

    • Ben Huffman, Providence Day, Sr. – 6-foot-1, 145 pounds. Harvard signee has won nearly everything he’s run this school year, including the NCISAA 3A cross country title. He also set a Mecklenburg County record (14:44) in Foot Locker Southeast Cross Country Regional.

    • Wyatt Maxey, Providence High, Sr. – 6-foot-3, 150 pounds. N.C. State signee has had a championship senior season, winning the 4A state cross country title and the 1,000-meter state crown at the 4A indoor meet.

    • Christian White, Charlotte Latin, Sr. – 5-foot-9, 150 pounds. Stanford signee back to defend his NCISAA 3A 800-meter state title.

    Girls

    • Anna Cockrell, Providence Day, Soph. – Won three individual state titles (100 meters, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles) last season and anchored the 4x100-meter relay squad to a state crown while leading the Chargers girls to their first team title.

    • Bianca Bishop, Providence High, Sr. – N.C. State signee will try to contend in the 3,200 meters after finishing third last season.

    • Alexis Davis, Butler, Sr. – Coming off a 4A indoor state title in the triple jump, the reigning outdoor SW4A and 4A West Regional champion looks to finish off career in style.

For the first few weeks of Fisher Ramsey’s East Meck cross country and track career, he wondered what he had gotten into.

Ramsey had established himself as standout on the Randolph Road Middle School track team and was running cross country for the first time at East Meck. The Eagles freshman says the first weeks of training were brutal.

“The first week or so of cross country workouts were one of the worst experiences ever,” said Ramsey, noting East Meck cross country coach John Reisterer initially talked him into running cross country instead of playing football.

“The first week of practice, I couldn’t even walk when I got home because I was so sore. But I never even thought about giving up or quitting. I really love running, and I knew I could get better.”

While he struggled at times, his coaches, including Reisterer and East Meck outdoor track coach Andrew Vuncannon knew he had potential.

“When Fisher came to us, we knew he was a good miler and had broken the five-minute barrier in middle school, which is a good measuring stick,” Vuncannon said. “He has worked hard and raced hard from the start.

“But he definitely had to learn how to race.”

Ramsey improved steadily his freshman season, with his times dropping in cross county and into outdoor track.

That spring, he finished seventh in the 1,600 meters at the Southwestern 4A conference championships and eighth at 4A West Regionals.

Ramsey’s sophomore season went even better, as he was conference cross country runner-up to Providence’s Wyatt Maxey, eighth at regionals and 12th at the prestigious Wendy’s Invitational.

Ramsey had his best season to date last year in outdoor track, again taking SW4A runner-up (to Maxey) in the 1,600 meters. He also finished fourth at the 4A West Regional and 10th at the 4A state meet in the 1,600 meters.

Ramsey helped the Eagles’ 4x800-meter squad qualify for states, which he says was his favorite accomplishment.

“Last year, I started hearing coaches say my name or, ‘Watch out for East Meck,’ stuff like that, and it felt pretty good that people saw me as a contender, as a threat,” Ramsey said. “To know I had earned a reputation just motivates me even more.”

Ramsey had another great cross country season this past fall, winning the conference title while finishing sixth at regionals and 35th in a loaded 4A state field.

The 17-year-old East Meck junior says that gave him momentum going into this outdoor season, where he said he now believes he is a contender in every race.

He is focused on his times, hoping to break 4:30 in the mile – where his personal record is 4:31 – and improve his 800 meter times to below 1:55.

“I think Fisher knows he’s a good runner, but I don’t even know if he understands how good he could be,” Vuncannon said. “He is so smooth, that sometimes you look at him and say ‘Are you tired? Or ‘Are you working hard?’ and then you look up and he’s at the front of the pack.”

Ramsey already is getting interest from schools including UNC Greensboro and Trinity College, and he received a letter from Harvard just before Christmas break.

Ramsey already is planning his summer workout regimen, which will include 70-80 miles of running per week to get a good base for his senior year.

“I just have that passion for running,” Ramsey said. “I still get an adrenaline rush when I start a race and just have a great feeling of accomplishment when I finish a race. I just have the bug for running.”

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at jedwardsjr23@gmail.com.

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