TOWNSEND — They say speed kills, and Townsend’s Kameron Rauser has a lot of speed.
Rauser finished fourth in the 400-meter dash at last year’s Class B state track and field meet as a sophomore, something that’s been driving him to improve.
And Ruaser has done just that. Currently, Rauser sits No. 5 in the state in the 400 and third in Class B. Earlier this month, he traveled to the Russ Pilcher Top 10 meet where he would see his best competition of the season. He finished second in the 400 to Florence-Carlton’s Jethro Thorne, who currently holds the No. 2 time in Class B.
“It was good to see (Thorne). All year I’ve been winning the 400 pretty easily, so it’s good to get some competition finally,” Rauser said. “He’s a fast kid, I’ll give him that. He’s a competitor and he works hard. I couldn’t be happier that it was a Class B kid winning the Top 10.”
Head coach Travis Rauh points to Rauser’s ability to rise up to the competition he faces and embrace it rather than backing down. Rauh says that Rauser has stepped up to every challenge he’s met this season — a testament to his competitive drive.
Rauser doesn’t take all the credit for his success. Rather, he praised his coaches and teammates for pushing him everyday to get better. As the season winds down, the game plan for how Rauser approaches each track meet is changing. While Rauser admits that Rauh is working him hard in practice, both in the weight room and on the track, that philosophy has changed in the past few weeks to keep Rauser’s legs fresh for the season’s biggest meets.
“By the end of the year I want to be at my best,” Rauser said. “I’m lifting pretty hard right now, but towards the end of the year we’ll start cutting back on stuff and my legs will start feeling a little better, little fresher for each race.”
Rauser earned two individual podium finishes Thursday at the Southern B divisional in Laurel, including a runner-up placing in the 400. Forsyth’s Paul Johnstone, who owns Class B’s top time, defeated Rauser by just over a second. Rauser also placed sixth in the 110 hurdles. He also ran a leg on each of Townsend’s relays, the 1,600 placing third and 400 fourth.
But it isn’t just the meets where Rauser has to compete to be the best. Rauser and fellow teammate Tyson Racht, also one of Class B’s top hurdlers, have pushed each other in practice. After starting the season in the mid-16s in the 110-meter hurdles, both Rauser and Racht have pushed into the 15-second range and rank in the top eight of Class B.
“He’s extremely competitive. He doesn’t allow himself to get down by a setback, he just works to get himself better,” Rauh said. “I don’t see a lot of complacency from him. He’s constantly working hard and improving himself.”
Even though Rauser has become so successful on the track over the last two seasons, qualifying for the state meet in multiple events, the three-sport star has one goal in mind.
“Obviously a kid’s dream is to go play football for the Griz or Cats. But I’ve got to get a little bigger and faster first,” Rauser said with a laugh. “I like to play football more than I like to do anything else.”
Rauh is also Rauser’s football coach and says that Rauser enjoys being on the field and loves to play game. There have been times where Rauser has subbed himself in on the scout team just to get reps, compete and share his passion with his teammates.
Rauser’s love for football is evident. He uses track to work on his speed for football season, while he wrestles to improve himself as a tackler. Rauser finished fourth in the Class B-C 113-pound division as a freshman, and second in the 132-pound division as a sophomore. This year, Rauser placed third in the 152-pound division.
The athleticism Rauser possesses should not come as a surprise. His mother, Tiffany Longfellow, was a two-sport star at Townsend, while his father, Kurt Rauser, was a two-time state champion wrestler for the Bulldogs. His athletic gifts may run in the family, but it’s the work he puts in during the season and offseason that has paid dividends.
With his dedication, work ethic, passion and natural abilities, Rauser should have plenty of suitors lining up at the door for his services, whether it be on the football field, wrestling mat or on the track.