Sophomore John Riker laced up his spikes and headed to the starting line with his fellow varsity teammates, unaware that this race would break the school record of four years, on a cross country course. This invitational called DCXC pushed Riker to run the hardest he has ever had to at the end of a race. His strategy to “push the pace and go hard for first place” kept him determined to not give up even when it tempted him most.
At the start of the race, Riker was found behind the first pack of runners, but with 400 meters left to go, he advanced to second place. Neck and neck with rival Aaron Bratt from Whitman, Riker was than ever pushed harder to reach first.
Even though they both ended with the same time, Riker came second to Bratt, whom leaned over the finish line and only fueled Riker’s motivation for future races. Averaging about five minutes per mile, Riker finished the race with a time of 15:37.2.
Although Riker excelled in this race, he did not find it to be his best. Rather, this year’s state meet became his favorite and most memorable running moment of all. The cross country’s state course is notorious for being the hardest, but that did not break Riker’s confidence.
After resenting not doing as well as he hoped to during his race at states in his freshman year, Riker was determined to redeem himself.
Even though his time was not faster than DCXC, he was “totally relaxed during the race and it was the most enjoyable race I’d ever run.”
Besides having the support of the team, Riker also has his four younger siblings to cheer him on, two of his brothers also being runners. Riker first began running in seventh grade when he participated in track to help him get in shape for basketball. Little did he know that this would spark his love of running and transform it into something he looks forward to everyday.
Everyone on distance running is hard working and full of encouragement so “to be able to use my gift to run long distance every day is truly a blessing.”
Besides his participation in cross country during the fall, Riker also enjoys doing outdoor track in the spring. He is not taking part in indoor track this winter due to the need of a break from competitive running.
Riker will still be running six days a week and will possibly make an appearance to a couple of practices a week with the indoor track team. Outside of running, Riker’s other hobbies include writing for his website, johnriker.com, and Common Sense as well as watching sports, especially football and baseball.
His website began as a blog when he was in sixth grade, and its main focus was on sports.
This expanded last year into his website, that includes information about professional sports teams, movie reviews, his cross country experiences, and anything else that he finds to be relevant with the times. Recently, he also began a Youtube channel called “Riker’s Rants” where he also discusses sports and movies, as well as book reviews..
Last year, Riker also won the Dr. Doran writing contest for the short story he submitted. “I thought the contest would be a cool opportunity. The process of writing the short story was really enjoyable and I was thrilled how it turned out,” Riker said.