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Interval Session #33 - Jeremy Rankin
February 13, 2008

When people were looking for the next sprinting sensation last winter and spring, chances are their eyes were on California, Texas, or other sprint hubs in the South or East. But the strong track clubs and HS programs in Colorado have been producing their share of talent, as well, and out of the blocks in the first few months of 2007 came Jeremy Rankin.

Many didn’t give the Overland CO soph much credibility, with many of his times having the “A” annexed to them, denoting altitude assistance. But when Jeremy came down to sea level, at the Nike Indoor in Maryland, he proved he was legit by outlegging Shane Crawford, Rynell Parson, and Justin Murdock for the victory in the 60.

Injuries tempered his outdoor season a bit, forcing him to miss the World Youth Championships. He still racked up times of 10.32A and 10.33A in the 100, which were right at the top of the list at the time and wound up #3 for the year. This winter, however, he’s looked every bit the next big rising star again. Now a junior, Jeremy suffered an early-season loss to fellow Coloradoan Joe Morris, but has since blazed through his schedule untouched. While he has the fine 6.64A to his credit, which puts him = #4 all-time, no doubt the highlight of the winter slate was the new Junior Boys 60 at The Millrose Games. He not only had a chance to race Parson again, but also a pair of studs from Jamaica, including Yohan Blake, who was the darling of the Jamaican fans at last spring’s Penn Relays.

Once the gun went off, it was all Jeremy, as he topped the field with an outstanding 6.68. It’s notable that he would have won the Under-23 60-dash that was also contested at the meet, as well as beating half of the runners in the Elite (professional) 60. DyeStat News Editor SteveU catches up with the Colorado star for some of his thoughts on this season and his career.
Jeremy Rankin (left) included Yohan Blake among those conquered at Millrose. Photo John Nepolitan

1. You’ve had a great season so far with your 6.64 60 and your win at Millrose. What have been some of the key things that you’ve been able to do in training that have enabled you to improve as a junior so far?

In my first meet of the ‘08 indoor season, I lost at the USATF All-Comers Meet to Colorado sprinter Joe Morris by .02. After the meet my coach told me that “this was a character test.” So, I just used the loss as motivation and came out the next week ready. During my practice sessions, Coach Edwards and I like to put a lot of emphasis on every section of my race plan, start to finish. As a sprinter, you’re only as strong as your weaknesses. If you can’t start, finish, or accelerate well, other athletes use that as leverage against you.

2. When people think of high school runners and The Millrose Games, they normally think of the mile or the relays. But this year you were part of a very successful and exciting Junior Boys 60. Please tell us what the whole Millrose experience was like for you. What was the coolest thing about being in that meet and did you have a chance to interact with some of the elite athletes?

First, I would like to thank Mr. Wetmore, the meet director, for inviting me to such a prestigious meet. Running in the Millrose Games was a great experience; I got a chance to compete against some of the top prep sprinters in the world. The best part of the meet was being surrounded by some of the best athletes. The only elite athlete I interacted with was Leonard Scott. I really respect Scott as an athlete and he seems like he could be a great mentor for me.

3. You had a great meet at Nike Indoor last year. Are you planning to go back there, or to New York? Please talk about your perspective about winning another national title this year.

Winning the Nike Indoor Nationals was the start to what was a great season last year, even though my season was cut short due to an injury. As far as Nike and NSIC go, I believe they are both great national meets, but we have yet to make a decision about which one we will attend.

A gold medalist at Nike Indoor. Photo from Rankin family.
4. Last spring, it seems like you weren’t quite as prominent in the national picture during the outdoor season as you were in indoors. Can you talk about what last spring was like for you and what your plans and goals are for this spring?

I believe people were unsure of my legitimacy as a national sprint contender and, as a result, wrote me out of the national picture. Last spring I was the national leader at the end of May, based off that I had a good season, but it just didn’t go as I wished it would have. I’m just trying to get through the indoor season, and will later set goals for this upcoming spring season.

5. It seems like you’ve had quite a bit of success at a young age for a sprinter. Please tell us about how you got into track and sprinting, how many years you’ve been racing, and what your involvement in other sports has been like.

I first started running track in the seventh grade because I was the fastest kid at my middle school. I’ve been running now for about four years. I used to play soccer, basketball, and football, but I gave up playing those sports because my passion was track.

6. When you talk about national class sprinters, you’re usually talking about kids from Texas, California, areas of the South, or large metropolitan areas – but not Colorado and the Rocky Mountains so much. Yet it seems like more and more top sprinters are emerging out there. Can you talk about the club and high school scene out there and the emergence of outstanding track and field athletes from Colorado?

Colorado has always produced some of the top national prep sprinters. But due to number of sprinters that come out of the South and East, they overshadow the sprinters coming out of the Rocky Mountain region. I also believe that due to the “A” (altitude-aided mark) that is placed by our times, it automatically delegitimizes the times.

Jeremy with sisters Ashley (left) and Kelly. Submitted by Rankin family
7. It seems like you’ve developed a great rivalry with Joe Morris, another top sprinter in Colorado. Have you gotten to know him and has racing him out there prepared you for the bigger meets around the rests of the country?

No, I haven’t really gotten to know Joe that well, but I enjoy having someone that is as great of a sprinter as he is to compete against.

8. Can you tell us about how coordinating the coaching and training between your high school and club works? Please tell us about the coaches who have worked with you and how support from your coaches and family has helped you get where you are today.

I run for the same coach all year long. I work with two coaches. The head coach is Bill Edwards and his assistant coach is Coach Hardyway. These individuals are very dedicated and great role models on and off the track for me. I also have a very supportive family. My mom is a teacher and my dad is in law enforcement. They keep me grounded in reality. I also have two very supportive sisters. My oldest sister, while in college, flew to nationals a few years ago to see me run. My youngest runs track at Overland High School. I consider my sisters to be my good luck charms.

9. One last thing – when you aren’t busy training, racing and studying, what are some of the things you like to do with your free time?

When I’m not busy training, racing or studying, I like to read, write, and watch old track races!

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