Brandon Ratliff has enjoyed success in a number of different track and field events over the past few years, but the junior realized over time that the hurdles races are his specialty. Within those events, while he's produced quality 60mH efforts on several occasions, his key race is the 110mH. As a freshman, Ratliff posted a best time of 17.54 and he considerably lowered that to a 15.59 during his sophomore campaign. Ratliff expects this improvement to continue, as he predicts he'll hit 14.4 later this season and ultimately run a 13.9 before he closes his high school career in 2019. The Wyoming athlete, who competes on the AAU circuit for the Grand Rapids Fire, recently gave up basketball and baseball so he can focus full-time on improving his track game.
MileSplit Michigan recently had an opportunity to speak with Brandon about his accomplishments to date and what track-related goals he hopes to achieve in the future.
Talk about some of the early successes that you experienced in track which made you want to take your training and commitment to the next level.
My first year running track, I ran 8.69 in the 60mH. I worked hard all winter with my coach, Tony Shellman of Ottawa Hills High School and I ended up making it to New Balance Nationals Indoor. There, I recorded a new pr of 8.32 and I took fifteenth place in the Emerging Elite prelims race.
It sounds like you've received excellent coaching. Elaborate more about the individuals who have helped guide you to the athlete you've become today.
Coach Tony has really influenced me and helped me to accomplish a lot of my goals. He brought me from an 18 second hurdler to a 15 second hurdler and there's still a lot more to come. Also, my high school coach, Brent VanEnk has been extremely supportive to me and he has shared his wealth of track and field knowledge. He pushes me hard and he has very high expectations for me.
Following high school, Brandon Ratliff intends on competing at the Division 1 college level.
Do you have any personal quotes or any other ways that you derive extra motivation to perform well?
Yes, I do. The following quotes are meaningful to me:
"Everytime you stay out late, sleep in, don't go 100% at practice - you're making it that much easier for me to beat you." And ... "I'm going to do what you're not doing."
I say this because I have came a long way in my life and I believe that I want it more than everybody else. When I step on the track, I'm going to give it my best and I'm going to prove why I'm here and why I'm running. I'm running for a purpose and that's to make my dream come true. I want to become a Division 1 track and field athlete.
Brandon Ratliff - Accomplishments & PR's:
- Qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in the 110m Hurdles and 4 x 100m Relay