Luke Champ says the key to being a successful 400 runner in high school is learning how to run the race and to run a steady pace.
He enjoys running the event, and has been a regional qualifier in the open 400 and as part of the 4×400 relay. He said his career highlight was breaking 52 seconds and qualifying for regional his sophomore year.
“I have a lot of speed and endurance. I’m not quite fast enough to be a true 100 runner or 200 runner but I can use my will power to win the 400,” Champ said.
His favorite lanes to run in are three and four.
“Coach (Randy) Fife and I have worked on a strategy over the years,” Champ said. “I start really hard and on the back stretch I just open my stride. I make sure I stay ahead of anyone that’s inside of my lane. I don’t try to pass them, I don’t try to exert that much energy. I try to catch those that are on the outside.”
Champ said in order to get down to below 52 this spring he needs to work hard, communicate with his coaches, and stay healthy.
“That moment when you cross that finish line, nothing beats it,” Champ said. “I’ve won quite a bit of my races, not all of them of course, but a lot of them and crossing the finish line and the burning pain just being worth it.”
In the 4×400 relay, Champ acts as the anchor.
“I love to anchor. That’s one of my favorite things about track,” Champ said. “I got 51 (split) a couple times for the relay my second year.
“I love the pressure because just the second year, for example, I had a close bond with them because we had a very consistent team that year. I just didn’t want to let them down. I love running the race and I thought we could catch up to that next spot. We’d be third and I’d move us up to second and they would just love that.”
He said his favorite away track is Bedford North Lawrence, where the sectional is held.
“I’ve had a lot of my best times there, and a lot of my best memories,” Champ said.
Champ feels that running takes a lot of hard work.
“Track is not about natural talent,” Champ said. “I didn’t start out early as a kid. I was playing baseball and stuff so I never developed those skills with my hands. I was always good with my legs so I got asked to run track one day in middle school and I never stopped.
“Practice is most definitely important. It builds confidence. It’s necessary you be there every day. My (sophomore) year there would be times on the back stretch where I would pull out and I would be 20 meters behind people, maybe even 25 and I would have to believe that I could catch them and sometimes I did catch them. That was part of my belief and Coach Fife’s way of building confidence in his runners.”
Champ enjoys attending SHS.
“They don’t get a lot of credit for this, but I think they give a lot of opportunities to students who desire it, and a lot of AP courses, stuff like that that can help you at the next level,” Champ said. “I appreciate that they’ve given me those opportunities.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Champ file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Luke Champ
High school: Seymour
Parents: Marc Champ, Sheryl Champ
Sports: track 4 years, cross-country 1 year
Athletic highlights: two-time regional qualifier 400, 4×400 relay
Organizations: winter running club
Plans after high school: study aviation technology
Favorite food: tacos
Favorite TV show: Breaking Bad
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction
Favorite athlete: Wayde VanNiekerk