By Shawn Roney-For the Richmond News
Riley Gorham could be a familiar face at sporting events in Jefferson City before he finishes high school.
During his freshman year at Hardin-Central, Gorham competed twice in Missouri’s capital city. In November 2013, he placed second out of 170 finishers at the Class 1 state boys cross country meet. During the Memorial Day weekend, he ran at the Class 1 state boys track and field meet at Lincoln University. He helped Hardin-Central win the 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 31.4 seconds to help secure the Bulldogs’ third-place finish in the team standings.
He also ran on Hardin-Central’s 3,200 third-place relay team and placed in two individual events – fifth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600.
Gorham was looking to place in “top four at least” in the 1,600 and “trying to get (in the) top five” in the 3,200, he said during an interview last week at Hardin-Central C-2 Schools. No doubt, his finish at the state cross country meet fueled his confidence. Qualifying for state in cross country helped Gorham see that he could qualify in track, too – “unless something happens to me,” he said.
“That’s why I … try not to do stupid stuff (to interfere with running),” Gorham said.
Hardin-Central boys and girls co-coach Dean Hays, who also sat in on the interview with Gorham, considered Gorham’s goals to be “pretty realistic.” One reason Hays felt that way was because of how Gorham had fared at the Class 1 Sectional 3 meet against Linn County’s Derek Wilson, who won the 1,600 and 3,200 at the state-qualifying meet. Wilson, a senior, is a “top three-level” runner in the 1,600 – “and probably at least that high, if not higher in the 3,200,” according to Hays.