As far as Odessa High School’s Aaron Ramirez is concerned, running distance races in track and field hasn’t been all that much different than his experience last fall in cross country.
But there’s one thing the freshman definitely prefers about turning circles around a track — the reaction from the stands.
“It’s a lot of people watching, I like that better,” Ramirez said Saturday after finishing sixth in the boys 1,600 meters at the Tall City Invitational in Midland. “I think I’m enjoying this better, the crowd.”
Even as a freshman, Ramirez was a solid top-five contributor for the Bronchos in cross country, helping earn a second-place District 2-5A team finish.
In each of Odessa High’s two outdoor meets so far this season, Ramirez has been running the longest distance races at 3,200 and 1,600 meters and has scored points each time.
“He has put in the work very consistently, every day in the mornings, afternoons, he doesn’t miss,” OHS boys head coach Randy Thompson said. “To be so young, he is disciplined and it’s showing. His running has improved so much and it’s because he’s working consistently.”
Ramirez opened with victories against competition from smaller schools in Hamlin and then shaved significant time last week in Midland while finishing third in the 3,200 (10 minutes, 30.36 seconds) and sixth in the 1,600 (4:46.60).
He’ll get his first chance to run in the West Texas Relays as a varsity athlete Saturday at Ratliff Stadium and hopes to continue the progress under the tutelage of Thompson and OHS distance coach Bryan Gayoso.
“This is big for me,” Ramirez said. “Ever since they told me I was going to run varsity it made me try harder. I’ve been getting better each week.”
Ramirez would like to qualify for the Region I-5A Championships this season, which never is easy to do.
Thompson said the freshman has the potential to reach that goal with his talent and, most importantly, his work ethic.
“He just improves and improves and hopefully by district he’ll be competing for the top spot,” Thompson said. “(Freshmen are) not used to the training, the pounding. He’s never done that and that’s one thing you have to watch. He went through cross country with no problems and it shows how much stronger he is now. We all, as coaches, can’t wait to see where he is each year because his progression this year has been real good.”