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Taking it in stride: La Porte sophomore wins gold at UIL State Track & Field Meet

With a time of 9:09:26, Schoppe on the morning of May 12 bested a field of elite distance runners from across Texas to earn the title of state champion.  He beat his closest challenger by four seconds and was more than 10 seconds faster than three other state qualifiers.

But, other than the big grin he displayed at the medal ceremony, Schoppe pretty much keeps his emotions in check. In fact, those that don’t know him would probably never realize that they are in the presence of one of the fastest runners in Texas.

“It amazes me every day that someone so talented can still be so humble and down to earth, but that’s just Ryan,” Head Track Coach Zach Johnson said.  “He’s an outstanding kid.”

Schoppe also ran 17 seconds faster than he did a year ago at the state meet – yes, this is his second trip to Austin – and bettered his own school record by three seconds in the 3,200, set just a few weeks ago at the regional meet. 

Not to mention, he took eighth statewide in the 1,600-meter run. It was the first time he qualified for the event in Austin, but won’t likely be the last with a training regimen that exceeds many people’s weekly work commute.    

“Distance running a year-round sport … so much so that even rest is calculated as part of the training equation,” Johnson said. “Ryan is essentially training 365 days a year, running a minimum of five miles to a maximum of 11 to12.  His weekly mileage can range from 30 miles per week to 50, including three quality workouts a week of speed work at varying paces.”

During his 2016 visit to La Porte ISD, Kerron Clement spoke to students at several campuses, as well as to student-athletes. In every conversation, he emphasized his training as being the key to his success.

Clement won gold in Austin not only in 2003 as a high school senior but also as a junior in 2002.  In his sophomore year, he brought home a silver medal to La Porte.

If history, humility and outstanding work ethic are good indicators, Schoppe will also find himself posing on the winners’ podium again.