Young Athlete to Watch: George Washington's Chyna Ries

May 2011

At the often-awkward age of 14, many students have trouble seeing past their next big test, homecoming competition, or school dance. But not Chyna Ries, a freshman at Denver's George Washington High School. A promising athlete who's building on two years of intense training with the distinguished Colorado Flyers club team, Ries has her sights set on a distinguished high school record and, she hopes, an illustrious college track career.

Ries entered Thursday's state high school track and field competition, which runs through Saturday afternoon, with a very real chance of winning three individual events: the 100 and 200-meter sprints and the long jump (Denver Post). After one day of competition, Ries is delivering on her potential, taking first in the long jump at a powerful 19 feet, 3 3/4 inches—over half a foot farther than the nearest competitor (Associated Press).

Ries' accomplishments are all the more impressive considering her battle with asthma, a condition that once hospitalized her as a child. As the symptoms eased with age, she seized the opportunity to play soccer and basketball, where she was a standout. Recognizing the injury potential of these sports, however, Ries made the difficult decision to put her full focus on track and field—although she admits to missing the fast-paced team game of basketball. "I know that track could get me more places than basketball can," she adds.