Running tough: Braves track star enjoys challenge

In his sophomore year at Brownstown Central, Aaron Kruse was approached by cross-country coach Derrick Koch.

The Braves needed runners.

“He asked me if I’d like to run and I decided I’d go ahead and do it,” Kruse said. “I enjoyed the mental challenge, the never-give-up part of it on the long runs.”

Kruse has ran year-around the past three years, mainly to stay in shape for track and cross-country.

He is a three-time varsity letterman in both sports, and has ran with the Brownstown Polar Bear Club the past two winters.

His main event this spring is the two-mile, but in some meets also runs the mile.

“In the first mile I’m trying to be around 5:35 or 5:40, just like cross,” Kruse said. “I’m trying to hold that same pace in the second mile. My personal record is 12:04, but I’m looking to get down to 11:30 or 11:40. It’s going to take hard work and just get it in my mind that I can do it. My best mile time has been 5:20.”

Kruse said he enjoys running at Blevins Memorial Stadium.

“I don’t’ have to travel and I get home sooner, too,” Kruse said. “I like the small meets because there’s more room on the track, but I really like the big meets because there is something about having more people out there and more competition. It gets you more fired up to go and run. I also like running at Columbus East and I also like running at Bedford.”

Kruse, who received a most improved award at the cross-country program said he enjoyed running on the different courses.

“They brought more challenges to face as far as big teams and stuff and facing a lot better runners rather than just having a few small schools with just a few good runners here and there,” he said.

In the fall season, Kruse’s career-best was 19:51.

“I was about our fifth-to-seventh runner last season,” Kruse said. “My goal was to always be on the varsity team, which is top seven.

“I would try to get about mid-pack or find someone that started out about the same as I did and try to stay with them for the first mile and decide what to do from there, whether I wanted to pass them or stay with them.”

The senior usually tried to run the first mile between 5:40 and 5:55 before the adrenaline kicked in on the third mile.

Cross-country weather goes from hot weather to cold, and track starts out cold and turns to hot weather by the time of the state meet, and he had to adjust to the temperature changes in both sports.

“One of my best meets was at Hardy Lake, which is pretty much all hills,” Kruse said. “I may not have broken my PR there, but I just felt better running on the hills than I did on a flat course. My best race was probably at Brown County because that is where I PR’d, which was my last race of my senior year.”

Kruse has enjoyed his time at Brownstown Central.

“The main two things in sports were competing and making friends,” Kruse said. “Brownstown is not big like other schools. It’s more one-on-one with a lot of the teachers than other schools so that what I like the most about this school. I’ve had a lot of fun here.”

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Name: Aaron Kruse

School: Brownstown Central

Parents: Courtney and Curtis Kruse

Siblings: Jacob, Noah, Abby

Sports: track 3 years, cross-country 3 years

Athletic highlight: cross-country most improved award

Organizations: Robotics Club, Booster Club, 4H

Plans after school: attend Purdue Polytechnic in Columbus

Favorite food: BBQ ribs

Favorite TV show: Top Gear

Favorite musician: Chris Stapleton

Favorite movie: McFarland USA

Favorite team: Purdue University