Gilbert Christian’s Blake Kelly hit the ground running his freshman year.
No, really. That’s not just a bad pun. He really hit the ground running.
As a freshman, Kelly ran his way into the record books, logging the third fastest 100 m in school history. Kelly, now a junior, is using that experience and success as an upperclassman to take on new races.
“I think it just paved the path for the rest of my four years through high school,” Kelly said. “It definitely helped me in the 400 m and 800 m in speed and endurance mixed together for our (current) races.”
Running longer races means having to build endurance to find success on the track. While he placed in the top-five in school history for 400m and 800m as a sophomore, as well as a state title in the 4X800 relay, he wanted to take his skills and endurance to the next level as a junior.
“This year, I decided to do cross country instead of doing football so that really helped with my endurance for longer events,” Kelly said. “I’ve really seen improvement in that.
In 2016, the Gilbert Christian track team grew throughout the year and ended the year highlighted by a second-place finish in the Southeast Valley Championship and then placing eighth of 64 in the Division IV state championships.
Kelly sees a similar trajectory for the Knights as they wrap up their 2017 season.
“We have a very small school and we only have like 20 kids in our track team, but all of them push their hardest and are hard workers, which is why we succeed in the state.”
And with just the state meet remaining in this season, he has one goal in mind.
“I want to win state for my individual meets.,” Kelly said. ”I’ve come close the past few years but, I need to really push hard on that.”
The state championship state track meet is on May 6th.