In the 55 relay, timing is everything. One split-second stumble, one mediocre start off the blocks can doom even the best of sprinters in the race.
A good start is crucial.
So as the 2013 Indoor State Track Championships approached, Brookville sprinter Stephen Racanelli went back to the basics.
“He’s been working on his starts all week,” said Brookville assistant coach Randy Nichols shortly after Racanelli’s win in the 55 on Feb. 23.
Racanelli’s times in this, his first indoor season, caught a lot of eyes, especially at Liberty University. At Brookville on Tuesday morning, in front of his fellow track teammates, the senior speedster signed a letter of intent to run at Liberty next year.
“This feels really good because I’ve always wanted to be a DI athlete and compete at the next level, but I didn’t know what the sport would be,” he said after signing.
Besides track and field, Racanelli also played football at Brookville.
Hampton Sydney showed interest in his gridiron abilities, but, after suffering a broken collar bone against Turner Ashby last year, Racanelli decided to focus on track.
A surprising win in the 55 (with a speedy time of 6.50) over Amherst’s Sydney Sandidge helped solidify his spot as one of the fastest runners in Brookville history.
He sits just behind former track star Jimmy Lindsay, who set the school record in 1974 with a time of 6.30.
“He’s definitely the fastest since I’ve been here,” third-year track coach Gerry Anderson said of Raca-nelli.
Anderson added that his standout senior will focus on running the 100, 200 and 4x100 in the upcoming outdoor season.
It was the Group AA state win that helped Racanelli realize he could compete at the college level.
“I learned to love track,” he said. “I love football but I felt like I excelled more in track. … At the begin-ning of the season my times weren’t exactly where I wanted them. The hard work that I put in to run at the final meet really added up and made me run really well.”
Contact Ben Cates at (434) 385-5537 or email@example.com.