Ramona High School Male Athlete of the Year: Dylan Blankenbaker
This week the Ramona Sentinel is featuring the 2012 male and female athletes of the year at Ramona High School. Upcoming articles will appear on the Bulldogs of the Year and the Scholar Athletes of the Year.
Students at Mountain Valley Academy are eligible for the awards as they compete for RHS teams. Ramona High School coaches nominated and voted on the awards. Athletic and scholastic achievements, citizenship and character are all taken into consideration in all of the awards.
By Bill Tamburrino
Dylan Blankenbaker started playing sports at age five.
As a youth he played baseball and soccer and wanted to be a football player in high school.
Then he discovered running under the tutelage of Coach JJ Sclar at Olive Peirce Middle School.
“I went out for cross country at OPMS in eighth grade to get in shape for baseball,” said Blankenbaker. After that discovery, he dedicated his athletic career to distance running and that dedication paid off in many ways.
Blankenbaker has been named the Ramona High School 2012 Male Athlete of the Year.
In his tenure at Ramona High School he has lettered in cross country four times and in track four times. He has been all league in cross country four times and in track twice. He has been All CIF in cross country three times and in track three times. He has competed in three state meets in cross country and one in track. He has been the Most Valuable Runner in cross country three times and in track he was the Freshman of the Year and the Most Improved.
It is nearly impossible for a distance runner to earn enough points to be the MVP. Sprinters can run in four events a meet. Most distance runners run in one race and at most two races. Blankenbaker is not and has never been about individual awards. He is a team guy. He takes more pride in being on a CIF championship team in track and a CIF championship team in cross country than he does in any individual honor.
The B+ student will be attending the University of Oklahoma in August on a cross country/track scholarship. The trip to Oklahoma has not been an easy one. Blankenbaker has had to overcome a surgery on his left knee in March that put a temporary stop to his 65-70 miles a week training regimen. He missed the track season but remained a loyal member of the track team and earned a letter.
Blankenbaker plans on majoring in business at Oklahoma and is undecided about his career plans.
His parents, Damon and Barbara, have been there every step of his athletic career.
“My dad coached me in baseball. My parents have been to all of my races and meets and have supported me 100 percent. I couldn’t ask for anything more from them. They have been there,” he said.
His sister, Cassidy, is a runner and runs in the same meets as Blankenbaker. Before that she was there too. When asked what advice he would give his sister or any incoming freshman Blankenbaker said, “Don’t get caught up in being cool. Don’t go out for a sport because everybody else is going out for it. Play what is best for you. When you get to high school try out something new. See if you like it. Then give it your best effort.”
Blankenbaker has run both cross country and track for Coach Steve Albanese and he has high praise for him as a coach and a mentor.
“He is so much more than a coach. I was lucky to have him as a coach. He has taught me to study and love the sport. He runs with us, not to show us up but because he really loves running and wants us to love the sport too,” said the athlete.
Blankenbaker feels that the best aspect of playing sports at the high school level is, “Meeting new people and making new friends.” The most important lesson that he learned from playing sports at RHS is, “Hard work pays off.”
When Blankenbaker is running through town with his teammates and coach, he usually has a smile on his face, despite running at a pace that is hard to keep up with on a bicycle.
Blankenbaker would like to coach when his competitive career is over.
The runner is pain free and will be good to go when he attends Oklahoma in August.
“The injury was just something that happens. The surgery corrected it and I can get back to running,” he said.
Blankenbaker is more than a student/athlete and a runner. He has worked hard and it has paid off in a scholarship.
- Athlete of the Week: Dylan Blankenbaker wins Palomar League championship
- Marshal Thrasher earns Ramona High Male Athlete of the Year honors
- Brett Germain: Ramona High School Male Athlete of the Year
- Cassie Miller: Ramona High School Female Athlete of the Year
- Miller, Blankenbaker, Richardson on All Division All CIF teams
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