The season has changed, but OTHS senior Chris Conrad is still at the front of the pack.
A mainstay for the Panther cross country team for the past four years, Conrad has changed venues from the hills and flats of cross country to the track oval with no drop off in performance level. Last spring, Conrad advanced to the IHSA state finals in the 800 and came home with a third-place medal — the winner setting a record for the fastest time in the event in state history.
The Panther runner, the son of Ken and Sonja Conrad, opened this season last week by winning the 800 in the Edwardsville Invitational — the only blue ribbon collected by O’Fallon in the meet. O’Fallon coach, Ron Koch, was not surprised by the result, given Conrad’s commitment and dedication.
“Chris continues to be one of our bright spots in the track program,” Koch said. “He is a tireless worker and is always seeking to improve his times. His approach to running has been a model for the younger kids in our program. He’s never satisfied and comes to practice every day with a goal in mind to accomplish.”
That desire – along with his record of state qualifying performances – has drawn the attention of a numerous college talent scouts. The O’Fallon senior has narrowed his choices to two – Kansas and Kentucky.
“I have already made my official visit to Kansas and will travel to Kentucky fairly soon,” said the soft-spoken Conrad. “I really don’t know for sure which school I will eventually attend, but I plan to run the 800.”
“I participate in track because I love sports, and I enjoy the competition,” Conrad said. “I began running in Junior High after watching my sister run track. Overall, my success can be attributed to my faith and perseverance.”
“Competing in athletics has improved my confidence,” the OTHS senior added. “I take pleasure in having something that I can put 100 percent of my effort into.”