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Stepping up to the big time

LINDEN &8212; When the Linden High School track team breaks out of the block for the first time today, some of its highest hopes will be hung on a young man who has yet to grace the halls of the school he represents.

Terrance Raby, an eighth grader at George P. Austin Junior High School, will line up as a Linden Patriot and look to outrun boys as much as five years older than him.

But as impressed as Williams is with Raby&8217;s present, he struggles to contain his excitement when he talks of the eighth-graders future.

His optimism regarding Raby is predicated on what he has observed about the young man&8217;s work ethic.

Raby hopes the extra work will help to give him a leg up when he does make it to high school.

Raby&8217;s speed and work ethic caught Williams&8217; attention during a physical education class the coach teaches at the junior high. Williams said he invited Raby out to a practice to take part in the team, but admitted he did not expect the young man to accept it.

According to Williams, Raby has showed up since, outrunning teammates and outworking his expectations.

For Raby, the offer was the realization of a goal and the chance to do something he enjoys.

Since joining the team, he has become more aware of some of the subtle nuances of running that could help his speed and acknowledges his need to improve in certain areas. He said he is working on his take off and hopes the effort will help him reduce his time, but still emphasizes that the strength of his run is the end.

While he does take the competition seriously and strives for improvement, Raby remains unconcerned with outcomes, choosing to remember why he likes running in the first place.

However, even the typically humble Raby cannot help but smile when he thinks about the possibilities his future could contain.