Saguaro High School junior Kelee Ringo sat on a high jump landing pad in the shade to change out of his track shoes and into sneakers as swarms of track and field athletes passed by.
Ringo had just received his gold medal for the boys Division III 100-meter dash at the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Track and Field State Championships on Saturday, May 4.
He finished the race at Mesa Community College in 10.62 seconds, slightly higher than his personal best of 10.43 he accomplished at the Nike Chandler Rotary Invitational in March. But it was the fourth-fastest time the state has ever seen.
Ringo appeared to be just like all of the other competitors at the meet while sitting on the mat. But once he stood up and revealed his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, it was clear why Ringo is among the top-10 football recruits in the nation for the 2020 class.
“It feels really good,” Ringo said. “Just knowing that I’m mainly a football guy, and do football on the weekdays, then I come out here and just run my hardest at the meets. It feels really good.”
Ringo, a defensive back for the six-time defending champion Sabercats, moved from Washington to Scottsdale before his sophomore season. His recruitment has blown up since. Ringo currently has 34 offers from some of the top programs in the country, including Texas, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.
But this is the time of year that he transitions from a star on the football field to a star on the track.
A short time after he took gold in the 100, Ringo returned to the track with Saguaro’s relay team.
Senior and Arizona State football signee Connor Soelle, junior four-star defensive back Jacobe Covington and sophomore wideout Mason Davies make up the four-man relay team with Ringo, who runs the anchor leg.
There was speculation heading into the state meet that the four two-sport athletes would break the 4x100-meter relay state record of 40.46 seconds set by Mountain Pointe High School in 2012. While they fell short of the record with a time of 41.26 seconds, the Sabercats won gold in the event.
“It’s something we’ve been working toward,” Ringo said. “We just wanted to come out here and win state for the boys side.”
Ringo ran the 200-meter dash to finish his day at the state meet. After finishing in 21.28 seconds, he was handed his third gold medal.
Preparing for multiple state-title races in one day is tough, but Ringo manages to handle it with ease.
“I just have to continue to keep my mind right throughout the day,” Ringo said. “Track is a really good mindset sport and I feel like if you feel good about your warm up and your body, you usually can do pretty good.”
Saguaro’s spring ball practices began the same week of the state meet, forcing Ringo to spend some time away from football as he prepared for the track events.
But now that track season has ended, he is ready to get back into the sport he loves.
“It’s going to be really good to talk to all of the college coaches again and just enjoy my recruiting process,” Ringo said. “I love it.”