Senior John Riker had just crossed the finish line to win his regional race on Nov. 1. To commemorate the victory, he received the cartridge from the firing gun that was used to signal the start of the race. Riker was immediately embraced by his family, coaches, and teammates, and he dropped the cartridge he just won. He couldn’t care less because the joy of celebrating with his family and team mattered more to him than a small souvenir.
Along with running cross country and track, Riker is the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, is involved with the Fellowship for Christian Athletes and spends time with his four younger siblings.
Riker has run cross country and track for all four years in high school. He first ran in seventh grade while conditioning for basketball, but has fallen in love with the sport ever since. “Choosing between cross-country and track is like choosing my favorite sibling,” Riker said.
One of Riker’s favorite parts about running is how it brings people together. He will always welcome encouragement from his teammates and family during races. “People might think running is an individual sport, but it’s really all about the team,” Riker said.
Riker is a captain on the cross-country and track teams. Being a captain has helped him grow his leadership skills. “It is really encouraging to see how Riker and the older runners interact with the younger runners. He is really helpful to all the younger members on the team,” Riker’s teammate, sophomore Zara Denison said.
Along with running, Riker loves to write, especially about sports. In elementary school, he published his own newspapers. Now, he has won two Gold Circle Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association – one for his sports commentary, and another for his sports feature.
Riker is also an editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. This is his fourth year on the newspaper staff, and he covers varsity and junior varsity sports. “When John first joined newspaper as a freshman, I knew he was special. Watching him grow as a writer and a leader over the past four years has been an honor,” newspaper adviser Evva Starr said.
Outside of the school newspaper, Riker runs a blog in which he writes about sports, pop culture and running. He is busy with school work and running, but still alway makes time for writing. “If I get even one pair of eyes reading my article, that’s a success in itself,” Riker said.
As the oldest of five kids, Riker is connected with his family as well. He has a close relationship with his siblings, and when he’s not running or writing, Riker spends time with them. He knows his family will always be there, no matter what else is going on in his life.
As he finishes up high school, Riker is looking to the future. He is waiting to hear back from the six colleges he applied to, but no matter what college he ends up at, Riker knows that he wants to study journalism.