Ramsey to run with Pioneers

Feb. 09, 2013 @ 07:23 PM

Corey Ramsey started running cross country during his freshman year at SCHS.

Four years and hundreds of miles later, and the senior Smoky Bears runner has earned a big reward — a place on the cross country team at Tusculum College.

Ramsey signed papers with the school Thursday in the SCHS library, and was excited about the opportunity his hard work has afforded him.

“I like running long distances,” he said Thursday. “Basically my passion is running, and I saw this as an opportunity to go to a great school.”

Ramsey, who plans to major in business management, was intrigued by Tusculum’s 18-day block scheduling — which allows students to concentrate on one class at a time, for 18 days, while pursuing a degree — in addition to the school’s other attributes.

In the past year Ramsey submitted a recruiting questionnaire to Tusculum, and the school responded back. Now Ramsey will be attending the Greeneville college on both academic and athletic scholarships.

Ramsey’s inspiration to become a college cross country runner came during his freshman year with the Bears, when he saw teammate Alex McCandless sign with the University of Tennessee.

“I saw Alex McCandless my freshman year get signed to go to UT, and I saw it as an opporutnity to go to a good school (by focusing on running),” he said. “Sophomore year, I starting taking (cross country) seriously.”

SCHS head coach Dan Hanlon saw the focus first-hand.

“Corey’s obviously meant a lot to our team since his freshman year,” Hanlon said. “He’s been one of our top runners, second or third runner, really since his sophomore year. He’s been a vital part of our cross country team, not just as a runner, but as a leader as well. He was a co-captain this year, and really just a good kid.

Hanlon said Ramsey’s leadership comes through, mostly, in his effort to succeed.

“(He leads) mostly because of his work ethic,” the coach said. “As he’s gained more experience and became more confident running and learning to race, he’s really become a leader.

“He’s very quiet, not the kind of kid that goes out and yells and screams. He leads by example. He’s such a hard worker. He puts in the mileage, and he puts in what he needs to do to succeed.”

Ramsey’s work ethic will be needed to run at the next level with the Pioneers. In college the runs are longer and more practice will become a way of life.

“It’s going to be a big boost in not only race mileage, but in training mileage,” Hanlon said. “His training mileage will maybe not quite double, but close to it. He’s going to go from 35-40 miles a week to anywhere between 60-70 miles on the college level.

“Also, Tusculum started a track team this year, so he’ll be running track also, which he’s not used to,” Hanlon said. “Running track is really going to help him in track and cross country, because he’s going to be running year-round.”

“(It will take) a lot of hill workouts, because I struggled on the hills, unfortunately,” Ramsey admitted. “And building my endurance up, because it’s going to be 8Ks instead of 5Ks in college.”

An All-IMAC runner this past season and three-time All-Sevier County runner, Ramsey said he’s valued competing with the Bears and will take with him much from his time with the team.

“The practices we had, memories we shared, things like that,” he said. “Basically, having fun.”