Championship win puts Hicks closer to Olympics

BOSTON, Mass. -Florida A&M sophomore Kevin Hicks continued his meteoric rise into the ranks of track and field’s elite Sunday, when he won the 800 meter final at the 2005 USTA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center.

“I have been practicing hard for this,” Hicks said. “Lifting weights and putting in that extra 10 percent on top of the 100 (percent) that I already have was important when it came to this win.”

The sophomore from Miami ran a 1:48.73 time in Sunday’s final, giving him the 2005 USTA national title in the event, besting a field of professional runners.

“With that (time of 1:47.73), I now have the fastest 800 time run by an American this year on a standard 200-meter track,” Hicks said .

Hicks said after Sunday’s win: “I just went out and ran my race. I stayed in the middle of the pack and came down and made my move. We work on my kick in practice and I just try to have confidence.”

Hicks also commented on being a college athlete competing against professionals: “They (the other competitors) look at me as a college guy and I just have to step up and run my race.”

Adding to that, Hicks said that he was excited about betting a field of full pro-athletes.

Hicks, who won the 800 and the 1500 to lead FAMU to their second consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Indoor title this past weekend, ran a 1:47.98 in the preliminaries, the fastest time in the qualifying rounds.

“At the MEAC indoor championship I broke the record by 2 seconds, completing my goal of record breaking,” Hicks said.

Voted the Most Outstanding Male Performer at the 2005 MEAC Indoor Championships, Hicks won that same honor at last year’s MEAC Outdoor event.

Last summer, he ran in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1500, but Sunday’s win puts him on track to ascend to the realm of Olympic hopeful for the 2008 Games in China.

Katrelle Simmons contributed to this article.