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Junior rises from 88th to 25th

Kai Vickers leads the boy’s cross-country team to 6th in state

Olivia Knoll, Staff Reporter
Originally published January 18, 2018


It’s the cross-country Metro championships and junior Kai Vickers is approaching the first mile mark. Alongside senior Chad Cohen, the boys are in front of the pack. Both are chatting and “just having fun,” Vickers said. What most may think is a high pressure situation, he is easy-going and just loves the fun running brings.

Throughout the Metro championships, he was focused and enjoyed the moment. “Just go out and have fun, and then go as hard as you can,” Vickers said.

With a 5K cumulative personal record of 16 minutes 4 seconds, Vickers dominates. He was selected for First Team All-Metro 2017. “I didn’t exactly know what it was at first,” Vickers said.

He feels honored and proud to be recognized.

Only running cross-country since last year, Vickers went to state both his sophomore and junior years. Last year, Vickers placed 88th in state. Now he is ranked 25th. “It didn’t really hit me at first,” Vickers said. “I was [just] really happy because I got a new personal record.” Vickers’ personal record his sophomore year was 17 minutes 2 seconds, and he is 58 seconds faster this year.

His immaculate improvement reflects his rigorous training. Over the summer, Vickers ran an average of 13 miles almost everyday. In addition, he ate healthier and drank more water.

Since the cross-country team is tight-knit, with both boys and girls,Vickers enjoys being on the team for the social aspect as well as the running.

Running is often seen as an individual sport, but each team member’s place affects the entire team’s score. At State, Vickers’ placement contributed 25 points to Ballard’s overall score.

The other four runners’ (junior Max Levy, senior Chris Ruiz, senior Chad Cohen, and senior Hayden Evans) places, plus Vicker’s contributes Ballard’s total score. Teams want low total numbers with runners placing the closest to first place. Seven runners run and the top five place from each school.

Before a race, “There’s a lot of stress that kind of builds up before, and when the gun goes off, [he thinks] ‘Oh ok, it’s not that bad,’ and starts running,” Vickers said.

On the final stretch of a race, Vickers motivates himself to continue and finish. “Your body has that voice in the back of your head telling you, ‘Oh you’re too tired to do it,” Vickers said. “You just gotta use up all your energy you have left, and sprint as fast as you can.”


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Junior rises from 88th to 25th