O’Fallon High School senior track and cross country standout Chris Conrad will be running at the University of Missouri for the next four years.
The two-time Southwestern Conference champion in the 800-meter run and a presumptive favorite to medal at the Illinois 3A state meet this weekend in Charleston, made his decision last week.
“Missouri is a great school where I’ll be able to great a great education,” said Conrad, who excels in both track and cross country. “Plus, it’s pretty close to home, but it’s not too close. It’s a place that I feel I can reach my potential as a student-athlete.
“When I went down for my official visit a few weeks ago, I was very impressed with the facilities and the integrity of the coaches. They seem like good people who want what is best for their athletes. I’m really looking forward to the next four years.’’
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The IHSA Class 3A State Track Meet preliminary round is set for Friday with the finals on Saturday at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. Conrad recorded the top sectional time in the state last week by winning the Moline Sectional in 1 minute 53.61 seconds and has a personal best time time of 1 minute 51.99 seconds. Conrad placed third in the 800 at state a year ago.
Now, with his college choice made, Conrad can concentrate on finishing his high school career with a state championship.
“I was also looking at the University of Kentucky and so to have the final decision made and know where I’m going to college is a big load off my mind,’’ Conrad said. “Now I can just focus on getting ready for the last week of high school track. Whatever it takes. I think I can finish under 1:50.”
O’Fallon assistant track and field and head cross country coach Jon Burnett says Conrad’s best days are ahead of him.
“To give you an idea of Chris's ability to push himself, I think about his freshman track season,” Burnett said. “Once he came out for track, Chris pushed himself to keep up with the guys that ran cross country. That caused him to develop shin splints. As soon as he recovered, he tried to run with the top runners again and got shin splints again. By the time he finally recovered, he was still able to run with the top runners. Once he figured out how to train, patiently, he became one of the top runners in the nation.’’
Conrad plans to major in business management at Missouri. He also would like to compete in several events.
“The 800 meters for sure and I’ll also probably run in some 1,500 meter events and some in the SMR (sprint medley relay) and DMR (distance medley relay),’’ Conrad said. “I’m looking forward to the next four years.’’