As an athlete that just started running cross country and track his freshman year, Enrique Ramos’ best cross country time as a sophomore was just 21:59.
“Now, based on that, it would be hard for me to imagine this day happening,” declared Bryant Hornets coach Steve Oury.
“This day” was Monday, May 8, and Ramos, the son of Patty and Marcos Ramos, was signing a national letter of intent to continue his education and running career at Concordia University in Chicago.
So what happened?
“I think it’s a testament to Enrique’s hard work,” Oury stated. “He was one of the last ones to leave (practice).
“There’s some guys, if I say get a cool-down in, it’s like okay, their cool-down is basically jogging from wherever we are to the field house and they’re done,” he related. “And then we have others whose cool-down basically means they’re going to keep running until I make them leave. He’s usually one of those guys.
“I’m extremely proud of him and I think he’s going to be a success in college because of that work ethic,” the coach added.
“I think I was one of the slowest,” Ramos acknowledged. “I just worked at it. I wanted to be up there. I wanted to compete with the faster guys. In 11th grade, I started taking it more serious. That summer, I just really started to focus on my training and eating right. My senior year, I just did the best I can.”
In fact, Oury said, “When you look at his best time his senior year, it was 17:18, which, if my math is correct, is an improvement of 4:41, which according to MileSplit.com, was the second biggest improvement for a 10th grader to their senior year in the state of Arkansas.
“Of all the 10th graders that started two years ago in the 2014 cross country season throughout the state, only one other person improved more than Enrique did,” he reiterated, adding, “And that person happened to be Drew Matthews. I thought that was pretty cool that the two athletes that improved the most over the last three years are both Bryant Hornets.”
“I tried out in the ninth grade and I was hesitant about it,” Ramos said. “I’m glad I did. I’m running in college now. I never thought of me running in college. It’s kind of surreal. I never would’ve thought it.”
“It’s been a pleasure to have him on the team and it’s been fun to watch him emerge as a runner,” Oury said. “In the 11th grade, he started showing some signs. I thought, based on his 11th grade performance, he had a chance to maybe emerge and really help us.
“His senior year, he did that,” he added. “We lost some good runners to graduation and we were needing some people to step up. He did that for us. He was consistently in our top five all season.”
Then this track season, Ramos finished third in the 800 at the conference meet, which the Hornets won, and qualified to the State meet. His personal best time of 2:03 was a second-second improvement over his best as a junior.
“That was an amazing feeling because that was the second time in school history and just to be a part of that,” Ramos recalled. “To help win a conference championship, knowing how far I’d come from, it was just a really good feeling.”
So how does a runner from Bryant get a scholarship to a school in Chicago?
“I just started applying everywhere,” Ramos said. :Then I looked at Chicago and I knew there were chances to run there, with my stats. I contacted the coach and he gave me a call and said he really wanted to have me there.”
So Enrique chose Concordia over Central Baptist College in Conway.
“He’s giving me the most money,” Ramos said of Concordia coach Dave Risch.