Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera cross country and track runner Tim Fitch and his parents Jessica and Time are all smiles after Fitch signed his national letter of intent to CSU Stanislaus.
Long distance runner Tim Fitch is known for two things: running fast and keeping quiet.
Fitch says he’s really not such a quiet guy once you get to know him, but his friends and coaches say his speed on the track speaks loudly all by itself.
So loudly, in fact, that the graduating Madera High senior is heading to California State University, Stanislaus on an athletic scholarship. He signed his National Letter of Intent on April 3.
“I guess, at first, I’m quiet, but you have to get to know me,” Fitch said. “I’m different when you get to know me. I’m funny and I like to tell jokes.”
Growing up in Madera, Fitch, 18, said his first introduction into sports came when he played baseball, which was never really his pas- sion, although he played for a few years.
“I grew up as a base- ball player,” Fitch said. “My dad got me into it and I played all the way until eighth grade.”
Fitch became a runner his freshman year of high school after many people were telling him to pursue track as a main sport. His speed and potential were a sign of his upcoming success.
“Everyone wanted me to do track. They saw me running cross country and they believed I could get faster,” Fitch said. “They knew I had potential.”
Fitch contributes his fondness for the sport to two childhood friends — Miguel Valar and Michael Ochoa — who served as role models and motivated him while they were growing up together. Villar and Ochoa ended up go- ing to Madera South and Fitch went to Madera High, but their positive influence still affected him.
“When I got into high school, I saw how fast they were and I wanted to be like that also,” Fitch said. “It kind of pushed me to get better like them, they definitely influenced me.”
Fitch said one of his biggest strengths is his versatility. He races in multiple events, but the 1,500 meter and 800 meter are his favorite races.
Next year Fitch will attend CSU Stanislaus where he intends to become an even better runner.
“I think the better the competition the better you run,” Fitch said. “You’re forced to elevate your game so I think it’s going to help me get better.
Fitch heard from the CSU Stanislaus coaches that other incoming freshman are around the same speed as him.
“I’m excited to run with guys near my speed. It will be nice to train and grow with them through- out my college career,” he said.
Fitch’s cross country coach at Madera High, Alicia Brown, said his potential is something not even Fitch realizes sometimes.
“Tim’s potential is immense,” Brown said. “He’s still learning how to push himself but that comes with maturity. As he gets older he will be able to tap into his potential. I have no doubts that his running is going to get better when he goes to college and he’s able to run with the big dogs and elevate his game.
“He knows what he’s got and I think the confidence in himself will help him go far. Like I said, when he learns to push himself, he’s going to be unstoppable.”
Madera High track coach Russ Stanford said Fitch may be quiet, but his leadership and hard work were never in question.
“He’s a shy guy but he takes care of himself and his co-runners,” Stanford said. “He’s very diligent in his training and he is one of our captains.”
Stanford said that get- ting around new coaches will help Fitch become a better runner.
Although his journey has only begun, Fitch understands that he’s on the right path.
“This was a sport I was always meant to do,” Fitch said. “I look around and see all the teams and there is no bad blood or anything. Everyone is always really nice. It seems like everyone in track are great friends, there is just a lot of fun people here.”