The superlatives escape him. She is not easily impressed.

The superlatives escape him. She is not easily impressed.

He is Rob Ronzano, coach of one Ryann Krais, the remarkably talented, genuinely humble talent who added another national title to her growing resume with the #3 all-time indoor Pentathlon on Saturday at the Nike Team Nationals.


Photo by John Herzog for the MileSplit Network


Ronzano saw the talent when she started her indoor season as a freshman. His reaction was to read everything he could find, and talk with as many coaches as he could - all in an effort to try to stay ahead of her talent curve. He's still ahead, but it's like trying to outrun a train. Sometimes it's just best to step off the track and watch.

On Saturday at NIN, he coached. But he also watched, and what he saw from the junior again amazed him. "To be a little off and to still set a record, that's pretty special," Ronzano understated.

For the record, the "little off" consisted of an 8.84 60 hurdles, a 5-03.75 high jump, a 32-03.75 shot put, a 17-10.75 long jump, and a 2:21.26 800. The shot put was actually an indoor pentathlon PR, but not her best. And the 800 was an indoor PR. She has gone 8.60 this season. She has jumped a little higher indoors. And she has long-jumped over 19' this season. But who's complaining? Her 3715 points eclipsed the meet record of 3709 which had been set by California's Gayle Hunter in 2004.

While Krais was happy for the record, especially since she wasn't sure at first if she had gotten it, she was generally nonplussed by her event-by-event effort. "The hurdles was not too bad. It was good enough for the event." Which means in Pentathlon terms, it was some good points, 944 to be exact.

The high jump is not something she practices a lot. And coming in to the meet, she says practice wasn't going that well. "For some reason, I was afraid to go over the bar. I was getting intimidated by the height. But today, I didn't think about it and it turned out better." 759 points.

While her shot put was a multis PR, Krais says she actually threw over 36' in a small meet earlier this season. "I have no idea what I did on that throw. I wish I knew." Still, her Pentathlon PR was good for 520 points.

The long jump was a little weird. Most competitors were way off their season bests, including Krais. But her effort was still good for 686 points. Krais says she has some analysis to do on this event.

And coming in to the final event, she knew what she had to run to get the meet record. Or at least she thought she knew. Ronzano had pulled her aside during the warmup and told her a 2:21.70 would do it. She heard 2:21.20.


Photo by John Herzog for the MileSplit Network

According to Ronzano, Krais glanced his way on every lap to make sure she was on pace. She gave a final push, and as she crossed the line, she thought she had missed it by less than a half second. But that disappointment only lasted a few seconds. "An official came up to me and said congratulations on the record."

Krais is her usual self when talking about the record. "Sure, I'm proud of it. I have a lot of things that could have gone differently. It was a good day."

Talking about her own accomplishments has never gotten Krais animated. But when she talks about her team and her teammates, she absolutely bubbles.

She couldn't believe that Alicia Melnyk was offering to get her water after her 800. Especially since Melnyk was getting ready to run in the first heat of the next event - the 400 trials. "And Courtney (DeGemmes) and Eileen (McCarthy) were screaming for me the whole way. They're all awesome!"

Day Two of NIN brings the trials of the 60 hurdles, where she is just hoping to make the finals against one of the strongest fields ever assembled. She had not yet decided on competing in the long jump - an event she scratched in 2006. But she was especially looking forward to the 4x400 with her friends.

Krais saw Saturday as the "serious day." But Sunday, "that is for fun."

Krais has always loved the hurdles, but is looking forward to outdoor season and the Heptathlon. "I love the 200. That's a nice addition. They're (the multis) growing on me."

Trying to give the record and his own thoughts some perspective, Ronzano says Krais' performance was right in the middle of their pre-meet "safe and pie-in-sky scores of 3500 and 4000."  He thinks that because so many of the events are technical, it's just a matter of repetition. "When she puts it all together, she will be beyond where we expect. We'll see magic."

Sorry, Rob, most think we already are.


Audio interview with Ryann Krais after her Pentathlon - with MileSplit's Kevin Milsted