Watch Randolph Ross' 300m State Record at the VA Showcase
But Randolph isn't the only Ross family member excelling at the state and national levels of track and field. His younger sister, Jonah Ross, a junior at Garner, is one of the top short sprinters in the nation. She has two individual state titles to her name, along with a New Balance Nationals Emerging Elite win in the 100m.
And between the two of the them this indoor season, they own a combined four current US top-10 performances in their respective events.
It's not every day that you see two siblings having similar success in the same sport at such a high level, and that's something both Randolph and Jonah continue to embrace.
"It's not something you see a lot, so it's kind of different," said Randolph.
The Ross siblings each began running track at around the age of the five, joining the club team Track Xplosion. They admit that they hated running when they first started.
"No, we both didn't like [running]," said Jonah. "But it was okay. Over the years, I started liking it more and it started becoming a usual thing."
The two developed a usual practice routine under the guidance of their father, who serves as their trainer. As a coach, he leads his children in workouts, from 150m and 200m repeats for Jonah, to 500m repeats for Randolph, who is a long sprint specialist.
Both Jonah and Randolph appreciate the discipline their father taught them at a young age, something that has kept them focused on developing.
"He's harder on us, and we can't really say no to our dad," said Jonah. "So when we want to stop, he won't let us stop."
That dedication helped the Ross siblings fine-tune mechanics early on, and that skill is evident when spectators watch the two compete. When both Randolph and Jonah race, they're smooth-almost gliding across the track. Both look strong and make racing at top speeds look easy.
"Since we both started running track so young, we kind of had the technique and form down," said Randolph.
It didn't take long for Randolph and Jonah to burst onto the scene once they started high school. Both qualified for the 4A indoor and outdoor state championships as freshmen. Each even competed at New Balance Nationals, with Randolph participating at the indoor event in the Freshman Long Jump during his ninth grade year and Jonah racing the Emerging Elite 200m indoors and Emerging Elite 100m outdoors during hers.
From there, Randolph would go on to win the 500m and the high jump at the 2018 indoor state meet to earn the designation of Most Valuable Performer. He then continued his success outdoors to win the 400m at the outdoor state meet that same year as a junior.
Jonah seemed to follow in his footsteps by winning the 100m and placing second in the 200m at the 2018 outdoor state meet while only a sophomore. That 2018 state championship was the first time the two each won an individual state title at the same meet-and it wasn't the last.
Jonah went on to win the 55m dash at the 2019 4A Indoor State Championship meet on February 9, dipping her head across the finish line as the announcer called, "Jonah Ross in [lane] four!"
That wasn't the only time the meet announcer called out the name "Ross" at the indoor state meet. He went on to call it out three more times as Randolph won state titles in the 300m and the 500m, and achieved a fourth place finish in the high jump.
Looking on as Jonah won her race at last month's indoor state meet, Randolph wanted to live up to the expectations she set, and he certainly did. "At indoor states, [I] saw [Jonah] win the 55. I didn't want to look bad and then not win," said Randolph jokingly. "It motivate[d] me to want to do just as well."
The two have always served as motivation for each other. They hold each other accountable, helping each other finish workouts and stay on top of their practice schedules.
And sure, the two don't always get along, but they have a unique relationship connected by a common love for track and field. "We argue, of course, but not as much as we did when we were younger," said Jonah. "I think we have a good relationship."
Beyond high school track and field, the two have big goals for themselves. They each strive to run in college and even pursue competing as professionals post-collegiately. Randolph can even see the two of them competing for the same collegiate program some day.
In the meantime, the Ross siblings have more racing left and more goals to accomplish in their high school careers. The two will travel to The Armory in New York City to compete at New Balance Indoor Nationals this weekend. Randolph will race in the 400m and High Jump Championships and Jonah will compete in the 60m and 200m Championship races starting on March 9.
For the two, the goal for New Balance is simple: place high. Jonah hopes to finish in the top four in both the 60m and the 200m, and Randolph has his sights set on winning his competitions.
But for Randolph and Jonah, individual success isn't necessarily what's most important to them. They want to make themselves known during the rest of their high school years and beyond not as talented individuals, but as talented siblings.
"Hopefully we can put our name out there as brother and sister," said Jonah.
Cover photos by Dan Loughin