Jehovah-Jireh freshman Randy Carter Jr. makes quick impact

Jehovah-Jireh Christian Academy, a local Class C school, has an up-and-coming runner in freshman Randy Carter Jr.

Carter began to show his potential last year at the two-mile middle school cross country distance and at the Class C state outdoor track meet in May.

Carter was a double winner at the Class C state meet, winning the 1,600 (4:56.94) and 3,200 meters (10:59.17) and finishing second in the 800 (2:16.71) despite falling in the latter race.

Last weekend, Carter was sixth in the Battlefield Cross Country Festival at Port Hudson State Historic Site. He covered the three-mile course in 16 minutes, 50.28 seconds. That time beat his previous record by 20 seconds.

He’ll run again Saturday at the St. Joseph’s Academy Invitational at Highland Road Park. The boys varsity race is set for 9 a.m. and the girls varsity race at 8:30 a.m.

“Randy Carter Jr. is an excellent runner who has really blossomed in the last year,” Jehovah-Jireh cross country coach Donald Montgomery said about Carter who is 5-foot-7 and weighs 120 pounds. “He’s in good physical condition and has strong legs. He runs with long strides.

“He’s a comfortable and relaxed runner. He’s a good leader, a good motivator and an honor student in the classroom.”

Carter helped recruit and double the size of the school’s cross country boys team to its four current runners. Other runners are eighth-grader Caleb Stevens and freshmen Johnny Pitts and Eric Brown. Carter is still hoping to recruit the fifth runner JJCA will need to compete for team honors at the Class C state cross country meet next month in Natchitoches.

“Cross country is my favorite sport,” Carter said. “It’s an adventure. It’s like hiking. I really trained hard over the summer and am excited about my team. We really push each other in practice.”

Saturday will only be Carter’s second three-mile race at Highland, so he’s still getting used to the course. His times are not that far off from the current leaders.

Montgomery said he thinks Carter can run as fast as 16:10, while Carter said he thinks 16:30 is more achievable.

“I like the Highland course,” Carter said. “I try to run each mile faster than the last one. I stretch really well before the race and make sure I’m breathing right and running relaxed during the race. It should be exciting.”

“I think Randy can be a college runner,” Jehovah Jireh Athletic Director Dirk Ricks said. “He’s just a freshman. He’s a great kid who is very coachable and takes criticism well. He understands pacing.”

“Randy has a great enthusiasm for running,” Montgomery said.

“We’re working on his finish. We like our runners to run through the finish line, not to the finish.”