Faster than you

You can tell Anthony Ragsdale apart from his friends on his Bremerton High track team because he is the one limping during practice.

Sometimes, giving it your all gives you a pain in the shins.

You can also tell him apart when he is racing around the rubber track because he is the quickest and the most muscular. At 5-10 and 170 pounds, Ragsdale has gained 40 pounds of muscle since he first showed up on the track field as a skinny sophomore.

“He has asthma and he’s still the fastest out here,” said his teammate and long time friend Dominique Bryant. “He has the potential to go No. 1 in the state in the 400 meters.”

Ragsdale is among fastest runners in the Narrows League, according to coach Lloyd Pugh.

His primary competition in next week’s Narrows League meet at Lincoln Bowl in the 200 is Olympic’s Jarrell Nelson (who has the fastest recorded time of any Class 4A runner in the state) and, in the 400, there’s North Kitsap’s Kolby Hoover and Stadium’s Calvin Horton.

Ragsdale, a team captain, is shooting for at least third place in the event at the Class 4A State tournament in three weeks in Pasco.

“I’m a quiet leader,” said Ragsdale, a senior. “No talk really. I just do my best and they can learn from the rest. I always try for the best.”

“He has seen his work has paid off,” assistant track coach Daniel McGinnis said. “He has dropped his time in the 200 and 400 meters.”

Ragsdale has cut his time to 50.23 seconds in the 400 meters, his best event, and he has knocked off a second in the 200 to 22.4.

“He likes to compete,” McGinnis said. “He’s one that likes to win, too. He’ll lay it all on the line.”

Pugh calls Ragsdale “coachable.” In the three years he has tutored him on the track, he hasn’t heard him complain or gripe.

“He has never whined about anything,” Pugh said.

Ragsdale played running back and was a second-team pick at defensive back for the Knights football team despite being hampered by an ankle injury.

He also played basketball in the winter, starting on the Knights’ squad before leaving to play in the Bremerton Parks & Recreation League.

In last year’s District Meet, Ragsdale was among the leaders in the 400 until he crossed into a competitor’s lane, eliminating the then-junior from making it to Star Track.

Ragsdale realizes this is his last chance to bring home a state medal.

“I want to come home with something on my belt,” he said. “I want to leave knowing I did something.”

Even though pounding into defenders on the gridiron is just as hard as running the 400, Ragsdale says that track is actually more mentally exhausting than football.

“The competition is different,” he said.

To prepare for a race, he just gets in a corner of the track and hones his concentration.

“I just think about the race,” he said. “I just want to set a personal record. I am very focused. I just go really hard. I just take off and wish for the best.”

Ragsdale doesn’t make a big fuss or puff out his chest when he’s on the track. He can often be seen with his hood over his head.

After graduation, he plans on attending Ottawa University, a Division III school in Kansas on a partial scholarship to play football.

Off the track Ragsdale is always the one smiling and laughing, said Bryant, who has known his teammate and friend since the third grade.

“I hang out with him 24-7,” he said. “I’ve learned from him that in order to compete you have to run your hardest every time. His standards are so high. He used to come out to practice and play around. But he realizes now what he is capable of and he takes it seriously.

“He knows he can do anything.”

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