Every weekday morning, at 7:15, before most of USF has risen out of bed and begun preparation for the rest of their day, the cross country team is around campus practicing for their upcoming meet. Among them is Ravi Amarawansa, a junior whose abilities and speed have helped rope in award after award.
Recently, during the 17th annual San Francisco invitational, Amarawansa pushed his limits, achieving a swift time of 25:42.70. His triumph, along with the success of his fellow teammates, helped to push USF’s men’s cross country team to 2nd place. However, he speaks hopefully of his abilities and challenging himself to a greater level.
“I know my times are not what they could be but I’m working on it,” he said. “I definitely want to improve.”
Without a doubt, Amarawansa has shown exceptional talent since he arrived at USF three years ago. His freshman year, he placed third at the Sundodger invitational, achieving a personal best of 26:04. He was also the only USF freshman to run on the WCC and West Regional team and placed 37th . The next year he beat his personal record at the Bronco invitational with a time of 26:03 and once again ran at the WCC championships.
Amarawansa also runs the 1500 for USF’s track and field team. Freshman year he placed fourth at the National Athletic Conference Championships in the 5000 and was the runner up in the 1500 at the Woody Wilson Invitational. He also achieved his new personal best in the 1500 at the Brutus Hamilton with a time of 3:58.34. Sophomore year he beat his personal best at the Woody Wilson Invitational running the 1500 with a time of 3:54.77, granting him 5th place. At the Aggie Open he dominated the competition, placing first in the 5000 finishing in 15:01.46. He then went on and achieved 12th place and once again outdid his personal best with a time of 14:58.62 in the 5000 at the Cal Nevada Inviational.
The secret to his success? Amarawansa says he eats plenty of carbohydrates. But it’s the rigorous and frequent practicing that puts him among the best. Besides every weekday morning, the cross country team can also be seen running around campus four afternoons each week in heavy preparation for the current season. To relax before matches, Amarawansa practices playing the sitar, which he has been playing for 12 years.
Amarawansa has been running since the 5th grade, giving him 10 years of practice and preparation for USF’s cross country team. He takes inspiration from his grandfather, who ran cross country for Dartmouth college and was a freedom rider during the civil rights movement. This encouraged Amarawansa’s psychology major and passion for social justice. He hopes to one day work with helping the homeless population of America.
Although the year has just begun, Amarawansa holds optimism for the current season and upcoming meets.
“We are all working really hard and we have a great new group of people coming in.” He said, “We are doing really well so far too.”
Hopefully, if he continues pushing himself further in the upcoming meets, Amarawansa will only reap more awards for himself and for his team.