CLOSER LOOK: Vista Murrieta’s KeiRon Long

Vista Murrieta junior sprinter Kei-Ron Long posted a 10.96 to win the Boys 100 meter race at the Inland Empire Championships on Saturday, April 21. / Photo by DENNIS POPE for FOMB

Take a closer look at Vista Murrieta junior Kei-Ron Long and you’ll see a powerful sprinter who is quick to smile (though he doesn’t show it here).

Long won the Boys 100 meter race at the Inland Empire Track and Field Championships on Saturday, April 21, 2012. He narrowly defeated Hesperia Oak Hill’s Marshaun Coprich by one-hundreth of a second (10.96 to 10.97) in the chase to be called the I.E.’s fastest man.

Also a running back on the Broncos’ 2011 CIF-Southern Section Inland Division championship team, Long stands to boost his recruiting stock with this achievement. Not that his 6.55 per-rush average and three TDs on just 40 carries hadn’t already raised a few eyebrows.

I caught up with Long immediately following his victory. He had hardly broken a sweat.

Did you expect the race to be that close?

“This is the Inland Empire… yes. Last year it was close and I lost. Last year I ran an 11.1, and (Elijah Mitchell) ran a 10.8.”

How’s the competition here?

“Competition? It’s real good. Yeah, I like the competition. It pushed me a lot. Makes me do way better than I can if they weren’t as good.”

Is this one of the meets you were focused on this year? Did you make some goals?

“Yeah, cause I thought Elijah Mitchell was gonna be here so I focused on this race so I could run him again, and try to redeem myself, but he didn’t come. (Mitchell competed at the Mt. SAC Invitationals on April 21.) I still put in hard work, and it still paid off.”

Did having Mt. SAC also this weekend water-down the competition?

“Yeah. A little bit. I know (Eastvale Roosevelt) was supposed to come and so was Great Oak. Great Oak went to Mt. SAC, too.”

You going to go home tonight and tell people you’re the fastest person in the Inland Empire?

“Nah. As of today, well as of right now. My goal is to beat… I forgot his name but he goes to Great Oak… he’s run a 10.81. So he’s the fastest in the Inland Empire so that’s who I’m trying to beat. I beat him last week but I didn’t run a faster time than his.”

What’s your PR?

“A 10.91.”

Was it a little windy out here today?

“Yeah. I was ready for this race physically but I didn’t have it in the head.”

What do you mean by that?

“Like, I was way too nervous and I feel I didn’t warm up right.”

How were you able to out-kick (Coprich) at the end?

“I don’t know. I don’t know.”

What Long doesn’t know is that his lean across the finish line was probably the difference between winning a losing. Coprich had a vertical posture across the line while Long tilted forward at the very end.

And with a title like “Inland Empire’s Fastest Man,” Long should garner a little more attention on the star-studded Vista Murrieta campus.

Maybe not Su’a Cravens, Big Man On Campus status, but maybe somewhere around, ahem, Bernard Quinn.

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