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Inico in a class by himself on indoor track

The Campus Magnet senior sprinter has a special affinity for the 200-meter banked oval at the 168th Street Armory, dubbed by many “the world’s fastest track.”

Entering the 2000-2001 indoor season, Inico had a state...

By Brian Towey

Kedar Inico loves to race indoors.

The Campus Magnet senior sprinter has a special affinity for the 200-meter banked oval at the 168th Street Armory, dubbed by many “the world’s fastest track.”

Entering the 2000-2001 indoor season, Inico had a state title to defend at 300 meters and the unofficial title of the fastest high schooler in the tri-state area to uphold. As the season progressed, the 200- and 400-meter specialist found his name peppered all over the national sprint lists. When he took a minute to stop and look at all that he had accomplished, Inico found himself atop the national 300- and 400-meter lists, as well as being a part of the 4x200 meter relay that is presently the national standard.

For a runner who only two years ago was struggling to make the 300-meter final at the Public School Athletic League championships, suddenly Inico has found himself alone at the top.

“He’s the best runner I’ve coached in my 14 years,” said Campus Magnet coach Derek Taylor. “It’s been a pleasure having him on my team.”

As the indoor slate has worn on, Inico has race by race constructed one of the finest running resumes ever by a city sprinter. The race that proved to the St. Albans native that he could really do some special things was the MAC Invitational at the Armory on Dec. 29. Pitted against a field of top collegiate sprinters, Inico blazed to a 47.67 400, the fastest time by a prep runner in the United States this season. In a race that had slipped under many a local running radar, Inico had produced a staggering time in the Christmas break stagger.

“I was really surprised I was able to beat [the college runners]” said Inico. “It all just came together for me.”

Inico carried the momentum of his ground-breaking 400 over into the new year. After clocking a nation-leading 33.84 300 at the Stanner Games on Jan. 14, Inico established himself as the fifth fastest high schooler ever with a 33.71 clocking in the lap-and-a-half race at the Mayor’s Trophy meet on Feb. 10. Inico attributed the times to a stronger work ethic on his part and extra focus in what will be his last high school indoor campaign.

“This season has really gone by fast,” he said. “I’m running better than ever and training harder because it’s my last year.”

After claiming the PSAL city title at 300 meters and running the lead leg on Campus Magnets’ state record 4x200 meter relay team, Inico could opt to try and defend his 300-meter state title at the state championships the weekend of March 10, or he could throw his hat into the ring at the national championships at the Armory the same weekend. For Inico, the choice was an easy one.

“I will compete at nationals that weekend,” said Inico. “It’s more important. I’ll run in the 400 meters that weekend.”

While some runners make the transition up to a higher distance at the collegiate level, with his speed, Inico shouldn’t have to move away from his customary 200- and 400-meter sprints at the college level. His exploits on the track have caught the eye of more than a few Division I track programs, as Taylor has feverishly fielded phone calls for his star sprinter.

“I’ve gotten letters from Illinois, Indiana, Arizona and Louisiana State,” Inico said. “I’m still not too sure what I’m going to do with college yet.”

As Inico’s high school career comes to a close, the senior has high hopes for the road that lies ahead.

“I’d like to one day make the Olympic team,” he said. “I’d also like to go to college, get an education and keep on running.”

For his coach, Inico’s biggest aspirations seem within reach.

“I see him making the Olympic team one day,” Taylor said.

After grabbing the spotlight on the local running stage, seeing Inico standing on another kind of platform in 2004 wouldn’t surprise many.

Reach contributing writer Brian Towey by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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