Ryan Roush | South Range

Top Athlete: Ryan Roush

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A LOT OF runners announce their talent early, dominating races at the middle school level and continuing through high school. Ryan Roush wasn’t like that. The kid nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” signed up for cross country in the sixth grade mainly because his father, Scott, had been a good runner at United. “My dad had run cross country, so I just assumed I was going to do it too,” Roush said. He struggled in middle school — “I wasn’t really big enough and strong enough to run,” he said — and finally broke through as a sophomore, when his friend Tim Nichols, a dreadlocked sprite almost as fast as Roush, moved up to varsity and gave him a true training partner. “To have Tim there is really good,” Roush said. “We train off each other. If I’m ahead one practice, I’m pulling him along. If he’s ahead one practice, he’s pulling me along. If you’re by yourself, you can’t train as hard.” After finishing 41st at the state meet in 2009, Roush emerged as the area’s best runner this fall, winning the Suburban League title by 10 seconds, while also capturing the Inter Tri-County League crown and finishing runner-up at the district meet. He saved his best race for last, finishing sixth at the state meet with a time of 15:43.9. (By comparison, South Range’s Dan Nemergut won a Division III state title in 2004 with a time of 16:13.) “I was happy with it,” said Roush, who finished 11 seconds out of first. “I wish I would have gone 15 seconds faster.” Four of the five runners ahead of him were seniors. Roush said his goal is to stand at the top of the podium next November. “I’ve come out and said I want to win,” Roush said. “I think my competitors know I want to win. There’s no reason to hide it anymore.”

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