VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Kevin Rhue still remembers the first time he saw Armaan Chopra run.
“I saw a little scrawny kid running around the track in 6th grade at Independence Middle School, that’s when I knew,” said Coach Rhue who enters his 15th season coaching track and field and cross country at Princess Anne High School. “The talent that he’s got, you can’t hide it very long and it was very obvious at a young age that he had these special gifts.”
Five years later, Armaan is one of the top long-distance runners in the state.
“He’s a scrawny little 11th grader but he’s a foot taller now,” Rhue joked. “It’s not just the physical nature of it. He carries himself a lot differently now. There’s a lot more confidence and not in a cocky way. There is a sense that he kind of understands his purpose and mission now and he’s not going to let things stand in the way of accomplishing those goals.”
Armaan moved at lightning speed from beginning. At 13 years old, he went to the AAU Junior Olympics where he received All American honors. It was just his second year in the sport.
“It was a moment for me that took realization. It was one of my first times racing in front of a big crowd as well, so it was a really big starting point for me,” said Armaan.
It would be a starting point that catapulted his career. His freshman year he led the Cavaliers to the school’s first 4x800 relay state title in 30 years. Beyond that, his sophomore year he ran a 4.21 mile, a huge milestone for Armaan, beating a Columbia University commit.
“That was definitely a great self-esteem booster. It built that confidence in me that I could go out there and compete at this level against these great big competitors.”
A demanding sport that requires 50 miles of running a week with just three days off between seasons is not for everyone. But for Armaan it’s about the bonds he’s made through the people he’s sharing the lane with, and not to mention, some impressive talent to challenge him. In the past 3 years Princess Anne had 9 division I athletes that continued to race in college.
“I would certainly say I can’t do any of this without Will Griesmer. If I had to run most of these races by myself it would not be pretty,” Armaan laughed. “The culture and the friendships and the coaching is something that makes it amazing. Everyone has their thing whether it’s a hobby or a different sport or volunteering. This is my thing. I go on the track and run a couple of circles every day.”