Ratliff long jumps way to state
Having a lot on his plate does not faze Lance Ratliff.
With graduation this weekend, the senior will remain a Tiger for a bit longer when he represents Frenship at the state track meet on June 5.
He qualified for the state meet in the long jump on May 22, but it was everything else he had going on that makes his state-bound journey more impressive.
Ratliff is the ace pitcher for the Frenship baseball team. The night before the regional track meet he threw more than 100 pitches enroute to a game 1 victory against Hereford.
He did not have time to celebrate and prepare for game 2 at Hereford like the rest of his teammates.
Instead, Ratliff made his way to Odessa, where he placed first at the regional track meet with a jump of 23 feet and 3 inches.
Still Ratliff did not have time to relax. He immediately drove four hours to Hereford, where he started at first base for the Tiger baseball team. Ratliff would later drive in the scoring run to lead the Tigers to a two-game sweep of Hereford.
To keep his mind off the hectic schedule, Ratliff focused on the good things that came from it.
“It was more fun than it was hectic,” said Ratliff. “I enjoy doing what i can, and I am lucky to be able to do both.”
Landy Perkins, Frenship head track coach, said he expects Ratliff to do well at the state meet.
“He has done everything that we have asked of him,” said Perkins. “I believe he is the best track athlete that I have ever worked with. Ratliff has a shot at the state meet. Just looking at the regional results, he is one of the top three or four.”
The long jump was won last year with a jump of 23 feet and 9 inches. Ratliff matched that at the district track meet.
Perkins has allowed for Ratliff to rest for a week to have him fresh for the state meet.
“Pitching might have had a little of an effect on him at the regional meet,” said Perkins. “We haven’t done anything since the baseball team’s season ended. He has had time to rest, and we will get a few days of work in before the state meet.”
Ratliff is the first four-sport letterman at Frenship High School. While he excels at each sport, his coaches are as impressed with him off the field as well.
“I think Coach (Brad) Davis said it best,” said Frenship defensive coordinator Don Black. “He said, ‘Of all the on-field things he does, no matter how good of athlete he is, Lance is a better student and person.’ ”
Ratliff emerged as Frenship’s star athlete his senior year, but the workload is nothing new to him.
“He was a four-sport letterman his junior year too,” said Black. “He was a little bit overshadowed by the great senior class we had last year.”
As a junior, Ratliff excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track.
He led the football team as the leading free safety and wide receiver. He was one of the leading kickers in the area and always a threat as a return man on special teams.
Ratliff helped the basketball and baseball teams win district titles and advance in the playoffs.
Next year, he will have less of a workload when he plays just one sport — football — at West Texas A&M. He is signed on to play a receiver.
“West Texas is getting a great deal with Lance,” said Black. “There are not many athletes like him, and I think there are a lot of other schools that are missing out on him. West Texas is a good football program and I know Lance will do great there.”
Ratliff was in the same situation last year when he qualified for the regional track meet in between baseball games.
“He is just a phenomenal athlete,” said Perkins. “It is hard to do both of those sports at the same time, but he wanted to do it.”
Ratliff is scheduled to run at the 10:30 a.m. June 5 at Myers Stadium at the University of Texas at Austin.
Just like with any other sport, Ratliff remains humble with his accomplishment.
“I am just looking forward to getting to go and hopefully reach my goal,” said Ratliff. “I would love to go and medal, but it is just an honor to go and be there. I am really fortunate and blessed to go.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.