- Warner Ray
- Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, senior
Warner Ray’s passion for running started in sixth grade.
That passion has paid off. In high school, Warner’s run for both the cross-country and track teams.
He earned all-state honors in cross-country for four consecutive years. In the state cross-country competition Nov. 9, he finished sixth overall, with a time of 17 minutes and 22 seconds, and the Holy Innocents’ boys team finished fourth in Class A, its highest place ever. The school’s girls’ team finished sixth, the school said.
Warner has finished first among Holy Innocents’ runners in every race in which he’s competed during his four-year career, school officials said. “He and [teammate Ross Waters] have re-written our record books,” Holy Innocents’ cross-country coach Dunn Neugebauer said.
Which kind of competition is his favorite? “Cross country, because of the trails,” Warner said. “You are not confined to run around a track.”
That reflects what he likes to do when he’s not competing. When he’s not running, Warner likes to be outside.
He lists his favorite activities as mountain biking, riding motorcycles and fishing. He says his favorite memory is the time he and his dad rode horses to Yellowstone National Park and then spent day fishing.
He also enjoys hanging out with friends and doing “normal teenage stuff” such as listening to music by country performers such as the Zac Brown Band and Keith Urban. Warner plays guitar himself.
“Warner is the full package – somebody who has the talent but also has one of the best work ethics on the team,” Neugebauer said. “I’ve coached him for four years now and I know him to be a rare breed that doesn’t come along often. A true joy.”
Coach Stephen Jayaraj, who has coached Warner for both cross country and track, says that in the time he’s known Warner, he’s been “an amazing student-athlete and even better leader,” who has helped take the team “from an also-ran to a state championship contender.”
“Warner has helped to revolutionize our whole cross-country program,” Jayaraj said. “We have grown numbers, depth and overall speed of the team under his leadership. … Last year was the best year in our school’s history, and this year we are even better. Warner has been a huge reason why.”
Warner hopes to continue running cross-country in college. He is looking at several schools, incluidng the University of Mississippi, Belmont College and College of Charleston.