Senior track runners reap rewards of hard work


Christopher Bass

Striding out on the back stretch, senior Reggie Burns races the 400 meter dash. Burns finished fourth in the event with a time of 53.85 seconds. “I was feeling a bit under the weather so I couldn’t perform at my best, but I was able to recover by the 4x400 meter relay,” Burns said.

Logging over 30,000 miles throughout their high school careers, 11 senior boys track and field runners are experiencing the rewards of their training.

Running an average of 500 miles collectively per week, the boys strove to achieve greatness among their competitors in the St. Louis area.

“Right away I knew the class [of 2018] was special,” John said. “We had a few of them run varsity freshman year and work their way up, which was impressive since it’s rare to have multiple freshmen get promoted.”

The senior boys currently have nine spots among the top 25 leaderboard lists for boys track and field.

“Having so many guys on the top 25 just shows how hard we’ve all worked, everyone on that list deserves it,” senior sprinter Chris Bass said.

Bass is listed on the top 25 list for the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash, along with being a member of the medal-winning 4×200 and 4×400-meter relay teams.

“When I met Chris as a freshman, I knew he was destined for greatness,” track coach Kristen Witt said. “He has a great work ethic and he is a leader on the team.”

Aside from sprinting, the track team also has a core of award-winning distance runners. Seniors Blake Selm and Cerow Aligab are listed on the top 25 ranks for the 1600-meter run and the 4×800-meter relay team consisting of seniors Matyas Csiki-Fejer, Andrew Lofgren, Selm and Aligab are listed as the 13th fastest relay team among all high schools in the St. Louis area.

“We have good team chemistry,” Aligab said. “Running with these guys for the last four years has definitely helped us to become closer.”

In addition to these boys, senior Nathan Stucki ran over 1,000 miles during the offseason (November through February), averaging nine to 12 miles per day, and becoming a member of the “1,000-mile club.”

“[Running 1,000 miles] started out as a joke, but then I actually did it,” Stucki said. “I probably didn’t do as much speed work as I should have, but it still felt amazing to finish. There was one day where I ran 16 miles to make up for the miles that I lost while I was sick.”

Track and field athletes from around the St. Louis area are especially elite, according to KSDK sports reporter Frank Cusumano.

“I think competition is very stiff in the area. Lots of kids train year-round and are involved with the AAU track programs,” Cusumano said.

The performances of boys on the track have attracted the attention of college recruiters, with Bass choosing to sign with Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa and Aligab signing with Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“I’m very excited to continue my running career at Indian Hills,” Bass said. “They have a good program and I look forward to my future. I’ll try to consistently run below 50 seconds, and that can get me a spot on their 4×400 team.”