The student news site of Watchung Hills Regional High School

Run, Martins, Run!

April 27, 2017

As the 2016-2017 school year dwindles to a conclusion, an analysis of WH’s collective athletic performance is in order – we’ve taken trophies, broken records, scored 1000 points, and will soon receive a new generation of athletes that may hopefully uphold the reputation we’ve maintained thus far.

In particular, some honorable mentions are to be attributed to a particular athlete on WH’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams: Ryan Martins.

Martins is currently a senior who has had his fair share of runs in the past few years. As a varsity cross country and track athlete for all four years of his high school career, he’s run in virtually every running competition WH has ever participated in. He’s won medals at a good majority of them, attended state and champions’ meets, and has led the team to a number of victories. And now, in his last season at WH, he co-captains the men’s distance team [along with Greg Shanahan and Micah Parker].

So what makes him so different?

The answer lies in his recent performances that have lifted the hats off of college scouts, high school coaches, parents, and the guy in second-place. Currently, there are 1,000 cross country runners [for men’s] who have earned the best times for the 5K in the state division. Out of those 1,000, Ryan ranks at 50, which places him in the 95th percentile of athletes who have decent chances of running in college and olympic competitions. To put this into further perspective, imagine taking 100 of the best varsity athletes from the best varsity teams in the state. Based on this state data, the mathematical chances of Ryan running faster than 95 of them is 100%.

Derived from —–

Let’s take the analysis done above and apply it to a different event in Track and Field: the 3200 meters, or two miles. Ryan ranks as the 59th best runner in the 3200 meter race in the state [out of a different 1000 athletes], which, again, places him in the 94.1 percentile.

The percentiles and rankings defined above apply, however, only to state rankings. We haven’t exactly considered Ryan’s ability compared to athletes in our own conference and division.

In the 3200 meter race [remember, we’re addressing conference rankings now] Ryan ranks at the third best runner out of 140 0f athletes who have competed in invitational or select meets. This places him in the 98th percentile of athletes. In the 5K race, Ryan places at second.

That sure is a lot of running.

Ryan has committed to the University of Nebraska, an institution that currently stands in the top 30 of the USTFCCCA [U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association], placing it amongst the best running schools in the country. His decision was final in the winter season, shortly before he won the 3200 meter race at the Molloy Stanner Games.

Just last week, Ryan expressed his opinions on the track/CC seasons he’s enjoyed in the past years, remarking:

“Wearing the Watchung Hills letters on my chest has most likely the biggest honor I’ve ever had the chance to uphold. Coach Tasco has really given me the push I’ve needed to excel, and I can’t wait to take my talent to Nebraska next fall.” When his teammates were asked of Ryan’s leadership ability, they responded:

“Whenever we see him run, the possibility of him slowing down doesn’t even cross our minds. Other kids will keep up in the first laps of a race, and maybe there’ll be one kid who keeps with him for a good majority of the time. But in the last 10% of the 3200 [meters] or the 800 or the mile or whatever, he just pulls ahead and doesn’t stop. He just keeps running – it’s sort of breathtaking.”

Derived from

Ryan’s tremendous dedication to the sport, coupled with an impressive “track” record, has placed him among the best athletes of the WH Class of 2017. Unfortunately, the time has arrived for his departure from WH, but a graduated athlete is a graduated athlete, and we’ll need fresh legs to make up for his absence in years to come.







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