Ray a determined runner for LHHS Cross Country

Sophomore Ryan Ray finished the Liberty Hill Cross Country Invitational in 31st place and has high goals for continued success. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Sophomore Ryan Ray finished the Liberty Hill Cross Country Invitational in 31st place and has high goals for continued success. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By Taylor Grafft

In his second season with the Liberty Hill Panthers varsity cross country team sophomore Ryan Ray is putting in more work and using his drive for success and love for competition as a means to get himself to the top.

Ray has been competing and running since seventh grade and has found a real passion for running that’s kept him striving for excellence.

In the offseason, he ran with several of his teammates at Lions Foundation Park and also did some running on his own.

“I would run at home, at parks, etc,” said Ray. “I would run a long run, a hill workout, and an easy run with some other runs here and there. I also ran with a bunch of the guys at Foundation Park. We got together and ran workouts to push each other.”

An area that Ray has really been looking to improve on is his consistency throughout the entire race.

“I have been trying to be consistent throughout the whole race instead of being faster at the beginning,” Ray said.

When talking to his coaches they will tell you that one area of strength that sets Ray apart from many runners is his drive and determination. Ray also believes that he has a strong work ethic and drive to be great.

“Determination I think is the key to being a successful cross country runner,” Ray said. “If you have determination you will train and become a successful runner if you work hard enough.”

Even though he is only a sophomore, Ray has seen a lot of success early in his cross country career. After being a star on the junior high cross country team, Ray’s talent and drive earned him a spot on the varsity team last year as a freshman. This season Ray says he’s more mature and has big goals for himself by the time he graduates from Liberty Hill.

“I hope to be one of the fastest runners that have came through Liberty Hill,” Ray said. “This year I feel like I’m more mature and ready to run faster and harder than last year.”

Ray also plays baseball and runs track for Liberty Hill. He says that running track helps him stay in shape for cross country, and playing baseball helped him realize how much a team has to work together to achieve great things.

“Most people think running is individual, but it’s not, it is a team sport,” Ray added.

Ray’s parents have been big supporters in following every sport that he participates in at Liberty Hill. He says that his parents are just as competitive as him and that it’s made him a better athlete and person as a result.

“My parents are super supportive in everything I do,” Ray said. “They will push me to my limits and I love them for it.”

This past weekend, Ray participated in the Liberty Hill Cross Country Invitational, which was held at Liberty Hill Junior High and featured close to 600 runners.

Ray finished with a time of 18:52.85 in the 5K run, which earned him a 31st placing overall.