Bolles Freshmen, competition is the tie that binds

Bolles Freshmen, competition is the tie that binds
Fast buddies, Chase Rivera and Charles Hicks

Perhaps the reason Charles Hicks and Chase Rivera became such fast friends is that few in a race can keep up with them.

As freshmen, the Bolles’ duo are tops both on the track and cross country trails as well as in the classroom. On top of that, academically, both are straight A students enlisting an invitation to Bolle’s year-end Academic Banquet, which honors the top 10 percent of students from each grade level.

This spring, although they are not in the same science class, the young men entered an award-winning science project at the North Florida regional science fair, placing third and taking home a cash prize of $50 in the chemistry division.

But it is on the track the two speed demons shine, not only regionally but nationally.

According to DYESTAT/Athletic.net, Rivera is the fastest freshman in the nation in the indoor mile, having won the event with a time of 4:19.94 at the New Balance National Indoor meet at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City March 15. In fact, as of April 7, among freshmen, he was fifth nationally in the outdoor 1600 meter run, 11th nationally in the 800-meter run, and 21st nationally in the 3200-meter run.

Rivera’s Florida state rankings are equally impressive. A San Jose resident who came to Bolles after graduating from San Jose Catholic, he leads Florida freshmen in the 1600, and is second in both the 800 and 3200.

Meanwhile, Hicks, leads the United States among freshmen in the outdoors 3200-meter run and is first in Florida in the same event. At the New Balance National Indoor meet, Hicks was not far behind his buddy, placing fourth in the mile with a time of 4:29.97.

An Ortega resident, Hicks is ranked 11th nationally among frosh in the 1600 and 15th nationally among frosh in the 800, according to DYESTAT/Athletic.com on April 7. In Florida he’s even harder to beat, ranking second among Florida freshmen in the 1600 and third in the 800.

Meanwhile, in Florida cross country, they are ranked one and two with Hicks usually crossing the line before Rivera after running head to head most of the race.

“For as young as they are, they have the talent, but they don’t waste the talent,” said Mike Rivera, Chase’s father and Bolles’ head cross country coach and assistant track coach. “They work as hard as the seniors on the team. So far they’re ahead of their age group in the goals they have set for themselves and in what they have accomplished. They’re both goal-oriented and driven. They will take on anything competitive, and that’s why they’re attracted to each other, because they both know they will compete at the highest level,” he said.

Chase Rivera said his friendship with Hicks is strengthened by their similarities. “In every aspect in life we have similar mindsets,” said Rivera. “We push hard. We have a feeling of what the other person is thinking,” he said.

Hicks agreed. “We both have a huge competitive side, and we are willing to put in enough work to get a great result,” Hicks continued. “Once I started realizing I was good at running that made a difference. I like the adrenalin rush that comes from beating a previous time or record. Nothing really beats that. Also, the hardest worker usually wins, and I like that in practice I can talk with my friends.”

Like Hicks, Rivera concurred with this sentiment. “I love the social aspect of running. In other sports you make friends, but when you run with people you really bond,” he said.

Although they officially met on the track this year, Rivera said he was well aware of Hick’s reputation for speed prior to their introduction. “Then I looked at him as more of a threat,” Rivera said. “Now that we are on the team together, I see he’s a great teammate and we motivate each other on the race course.”

In the future, the duo’s only goals are to get faster and earn a state championship ring for Bolles’ captain Alex Turnock. “This is his last shot. I’d like to win state in the two-mile to get us to that goal,” said Hicks, adding he also hopes to compete in the New Balance Outdoor National Championships in North Carolina in June.

“The qualifying time is 9:55. I already ran a 9:17 so it’s just a question of going,” he said, adding in the future he aims to lower his time to “deep in the eights.”

Like his friend, Rivera’s goal is to win the mile at state. He also hopes to set a state record and lower his mile time below the four-minute mark. “Not many people have done it,” he said, noting his current personal best is 4:18.


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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