Hicks strides toward Olympic finish

Meet Kevin Hicks, a 20-year-old middle distance track runner from Miami.

While walking toward the track, you may have spotted him in his authentic FAMU apparel warming up for practice or just taking a casual run.

Many may not know it, but Hicks is one of FAMU’s most talented runners.

While in the 10th grade, Hicks was asked by his high school coach John Rolle to try track after seeing him play in a basketball game. He went out one day and did well. From that day on, Kevin has been running track.

“I saw his track potential and when the game was over, I pulled him off the court.,” Rolle said.

“And from that day on he has been doing a wonderful job.”

Hicks not only ran track for Miami Central High School, he also won numerous awards in the process. In 2002, Hicks won state championships in cross-country, the 1600 meter run, and in the 1600-meter relay.

“I can describe Kevin’s athletic abilities as awesome, outstanding, excellent; one of the best athletes I have ever coached,” Rolle said.

Hicks does not like to brag about himself but would rather give credit to other gifted athletes.

“When I was in high school, I was on the team with Bershawn Jackson, (who) at the time was the best in the nation in the 300-meter hurdles,” Hicks said. “He had the second-fastest time ever run by a high school student. And we were both there together.”

Before Kevin entered high school, he was thought to be a very easygoing kid according to his mother, Linda Hicks.

“Kevin was a beautiful child,” Linda Hicks said. “He was very compassionate and warm.”

Upon Hicks’ senior year in high school, schools in the South recruited him for his track abilities.

“University of Kentucky, Mississippi State, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, FAMU and Georgia Tech were recruiting me,” Hicks said.

Though Hicks was recruited by a lot of so-called “big name” schools, he chose to attend FAMU.

“Many of the schools were offering partial scholarships,” Hicks said. “I chose FAMU because they were giving me a 100 percent (scholarship).”

Now Hicks, like in his high school days, has left his mark in a variety of races.

Hicks was the conference champion in the 1600 meters 1600-meter relay and the distance medley during the indoor season of his freshman year. During the outdoor season, Hicks again won the 1600 meters and 1600-meter relay, but added a championship in the 800 meters as well. Because of his achievements on the track, Hicks nabbed an MVP award and an invitation to last year’s Olympic trials.

However, winning all of these awards does not come easy.

“I practice five days a week, Monday through Friday,” Hicks said.

Aside from his regular track practices, Kevin describes his social life as “laid back.”

“I don’t talk much, I just stay to myself most of the time,” Hicks said.

Fellow teammates can also attest to Kevin’s outstanding athletic abilities.

“I actually (saw) him last year in the conference championship,” said Brent Mobley, a senior sprinter from Brooksville.

“I’ll never forget it. I have ever seen him do. He actually stopped in a race and came back and beat everybody at the end.”

Though some people see track and field as an individual sport, it is still important to be a team player.

“Kevin was a captain on the team, one of the best captains I have ever coached,” Rolle said. “He is quiet in his own way but he has great leadership qualities.”

While his outlook is bright in the classroom, track is certainly in the future for Hicks. His first step consists of making it to nationals in indoor and outdoor track.

“Once I get a little more experience I will try (to) win (nationals) and from there, maybe the Olympics,” Hicks said.

As Hicks continues to strive for success both in and out of the classroom, his mother feels that he is maturing in front of her eyes.

“He has grown into a young man that every mother dreams about,” Linda Hicks said.