Every time Sacred Heart Cathedral senior track standout Edward Lampkin gets in the starting blocks, he follows a similar routine.
Lampkin taps his left foot three times, then his right, before saying a prayer revolving around his grandparents, Ellen Bolton and Robert Lampkin.
“I’m dedicating the season to them,” said Lampkin, whose grandparents died several weeks apart, all in the last two months. “They really meant a lot to me.”
The powerfully built, 6-foot-1, 150-pound Lampkin certainly looks like he’s running with plenty of inspiration, as he enters Friday’s Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships at Gilroy High School with the second-best qualifying time in the 400 meters at 48.87 seconds.
Lampkin finished third in last year’s race, but he’s improved his times significantly this season — Lampkin clocked a personal-best 48.71 seconds at the CCS Top 8 Meet on April 19 — making him one of the favorites to win the title. Besides having raw talent, Lampkin excels because he’s tactically sound, Irish coach Andy Chan said.
“Often you’ll see runners in the 400 start off really fast before fading,” Chan said. “To Ed’s credit, he maintains a solid pace in the first half of the race so he can have that extra gear at the end.”
Indeed, Lampkin breaks down the 400 in a way that allows him to post consistently solid results.
“After the first 200 meters, I like to ease off a bit and have a in-race coffee break, where I can relax for 50 meters and gauge the race,” he said. “My kick will start after that and based on what the competition is doing.”
When Lampkin was a freshman, he didn’t even make it to the finals of the West Catholic Athletic League meet — in the frosh-soph division. But he steadily showed improvement in the succeeding years, leading up to what could be a historic achievement.
Lampkin actually had a potentially tough decision to make Thursday night: Go to the school’s graduation night with the rest of his senior class — the event goes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — or get a good night’s rest in preparation for the biggest race of his career.
It was no contest.
“I’m going to get my rest,” Lampkin said. “I know my priorities. I love my classmates and all, but I have bigger plans for myself. I’m going to see my friends and classmates again, but how many times will I have a chance to win a CCS championship? I’ve trained too hard to let this chance slip by. This is my moment.”