All Area: Ryan Pickering, boys cross-country Runner of the Year
Saturday, December 18, 2010
by Paul Ivice
Ryan Pickering's road to the Class 4A state cross-country championship began when he was in the sixth grade .
"I used to have to force him to put the Game Boy down and get out and exercise," said Al Jordan, who had become Pickering's stepfather
Jordan coached Palm Beach Gardens cross-country runners for 15 years before switching to John I. Leonard to coach the Lancers six years ago.
"I could see he had a talent for it, but he didn't like it too much in the beginning," Jordan said.
The next year, however, Pickering won his first race. And by the time Pickering was a freshman at John I. Leonard, he was dedicated to the sport.
"I think he just started loving it so much, you could just see it," Jordan said.
Now, Jordan said, Pickering is "the hardest trainer I've ever had, by far."
Pickering also became a team leader for the Lancers.
"He tries really hard to motivate his teammates and get them to work hard, but they're just not made like him," Jordan said.
After finishing 27th in the 2007 state meet as a freshman, Pickering finished third the past two years before winning by a 10-second margin at this year's finals last month at Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City.
Though Pickering set several course and meet records during the season, he said his performance in the state final was his best.
"I felt the most comfortable the entire race," he said of his winning time of 15:03, which was almost 90 seconds faster than his freshman time.
A week ago, Pickering finished ninth in the nation at the Foot Locker Cross-Country National Finals.
Pickering said his biggest improvement has been in his endurance. He added that he's also developed a better philosophy.
"Keep in mind that if you want to do well, you have to have the ability to defer gratification and keep your goals," he said.
Pickering hasn't yet decided on a college. He's visited Florida State and also is considering Oregon, Arkansas and Colorado.
BOYS FIRST TEAM
Anderson Charles, John I. Leonard, Junior
Finished third in district and sixth at regional, just ahead of Visi-Clark.
Joshua Visi-Clark, John I. Leonard, Senior
Finished just ahead of teammate Charles at the state meet.
Hardy Moore, Park Vista, Senior
Finished fifth in district, fourthth at regionals and 30th at state.
Tyler Brennalt, South Fork, Senior
Treasure Coast's top runner finished 15th at state.
Michael Miller, King's Academy, Senior
Finished 13th at state, helping King's finish ninth as a team.
Edens Thermidor, Park Vista, Junior
Ran with Moore through district and regionals and 51st at state.
Coach of the Year
Al Jordan, John I. Leonard
In addition to guiding Ryan Pickering, to the state 4A championship, Jordan coached the Lancers to a win in the Region 3 meet and then fourth at state.
BOYS SECOND TEAM
Nick Parrinelli, Martin County, Sophomore
Mauro Dominguez, Okeechobee, Senior
Kelly Etienne, Port St. Lucie, Junior
James Martin, South Fork, Senior
Austin Cox, Lincoln Park, Junior
Ryan White, Park Vista, Junior