JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Four years ago, Marble Falls High School cross-country coach Anthony Torns met eight freshmen who had been very good middle school runners.
But as time passed, several of those athletes chose not to stay in the program, even though they had the ability to succeed in the sport.
One of the few who did stay was James Ramos, a runner who turned himself into a college prospect because of his work ethic and willingness to be coached.
Ramos’ diligence paid off March 13 when he signed a letter of intent to run cross country and track for Ranger College in Ranger.
“James is like Rudy 2.0,” Torns said, referring to Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who played football for Notre Dame and inspired the movie “Rudy.” “Rudy was able to motivate the team. James had the ability. He was able to pull something out of himself. He became a major contributor of the team as a freshman. There were eight kids out of middle school who were better than him. He got out here and worked harder.”
Ramos is the third Mustang Torns has coached who earned a cross-country and track-and-field scholarship.
“It’s a great honor to be one of the students who came through this school to run in college,” he said.
Ramos credited Torns and his teammates for his success.
“They describe it as tough love,” Ramos said of Torns and his coaches. “They’re going to work you even more. I don’t just relax and sit. I want to be the best I can be.
“I’m thankful for my teammates,” he added. “They’re happy for me. They pushed me every single day, and they never tried to discourage me from what I achieved.”
He chose Ranger College, he said, because the city and the campus reminded him of Marble Falls.
Ramos’ personal best time in a cross-country race is 17 minutes 10 seconds. His favorite event in track is the 1,600 meters. He posted a new personal best in the event at 4:50 at the Don Shelton Relays in Hays on March 12.
Another individual he credits for his success is former teammate Jordan Wright, who is now running for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He and Wright challenged each other to be better, Ramos said. Wright also shared information and told his teammate where he could be better, Ramos added.
The son of Gabriel and Angel Ramos will major in graphic design.
Torns said the reason he coaches is to help develop character in his athletes. Another is to help students see there’s more to them than what they can immediately see in themselves. Those reasons are why Torns was especially happy for Ramos.
“James worked his way to where he is,” he said. “Looking at him at middle school, James wouldn’t have been that runner on college signing day. He literally held on to every lesson I taught. He showed up and worked hard.”