Christian Locke didn’t hit the ground running. In fact, the Pioneer senior didn’t even think he’d enjoy running track.
He joined the team because his mom made him. It seems moms really are always right.
Locke has turned into one of the best runners in the state, competing in the state tournament in cross country and track the last two years. He parlayed it into a scholarship Wednesday, signing to attend Berea College in Kentucky this fall.
“When I quit playing basketball, my mom told me I was going to play at least one sport. She made me do it and it changed my life,” said Locke. “I really didn’t think I would like it, but it turned out to be really fun.”
The 6-foot-5 senior grew into a natural distance runner, competing each fall in cross country 5K events and coming back in the spring to dominate 800-meter and 1600-meter races.
This school year, Locke already finished in the top 10 percent of runners in the state cross tournament competition in November and has won every 1600 race he’s competed in this spring.
Locke is hopeful he’ll be back at the state tournament in a month, this time making it on the podium.
“I think I can qualify again this year. I’ve had a pretty good season thus far,” said Locke.
Locke has ramped up training after suffering a minor injury. Locke traditionally runs 70-80 miles a week, but has been limited to 50 miles during his current workouts. Locke runs during practice, stays extra for additional training and then runs more when he gets home.
“It takes dedication and hard work,” said Locke. “I love to run and I get out and do it every chance I get.”
His skill landed him an offer to Berea College, one Locke was quick to accept. The school had one big selling point that stuck out to the senior standout.
“It’s free,” said Locke laughing. “But really, I think it’s a great fit because they have a great program and a good coach. I’m excited about going to Berea.”
Locke expects to keep running in the 800, 1500 and 1600 at the next level. He, along with the rest of the WCHS track team, will be in action this weekend at the Tomahawk team championships at Riverdale.