Here Comes The Son


Maxwell Zeisler, Contributor to Scratch Paper

Track and cross country are widely underrated sports. Many people seem to overlook them as “anybody can do that” sports. But the game is beginning to be reformed. A new age is entering for the two sports and Warren Township High School’s Luke Wiley is on top and is starting to make a name for himself and carry on down the path of greatness.

The junior has been at it since he was young. “I started running with my dad at the end of his runs because I thought it was cool,” he simply said. Wiley was always fast. Dave Zeisler, semi-professional runner for the Jenny Spangler Racing Team tells how he “kicked everyone’s butt” when the team would host the annual kids race in which Wiley would attend. “I won my first race at that pretty young age. It was an old JSR kids race” (Wiley).

Times seem to have not changed. Wiley’s career really started to boast itself when he entered middle school under coaches Grablin and Brewster. When asked who got him into running, he remarked, “Definitely my dad and my middle school coaches, Grablin and Will Brewster.” He was a 4x state qualifier in track and cross country according to the official IESA cross country results, and he placed 10th at the 2017 IESA state cross country championships as an 8th grader.

Wiley has been seriously running for some time now. “I kinda started about 5 years ago,” he said when asked how long he’s seriously been running. It has aided him in his transition into high school, where his career took off. His success in high school can be traced back to his teammates and coaches. He describes how they “push me to achieve my goals” and “help me realize what I’m capable of and help me build a base for running” (Wiley). Warren Township’s assistant coach Joe Stubenvoll, who has been coaching and creating workouts for Wiley for some time, simply said, “we can do this because we have Luke.”

It doesn’t stop yet for the junior when it comes to his goals. He has already run a cross country personal record of 15:05, and his best mile times comes in at 4:24. He has goals that he would like to utilize for collegiate recognition that many would consider unapproachable. “My goal for cross country would be to break 14:15. My ultimate goal would be to win a high school cross country state title,” said Wiley when asked what his goals were. To put that into perspective, the average mile time for new runners is between about 12-15 minutes and the average time for a runner to complete a 3 mile race is about 40 minutes according to The average time for a high school cross country runner to complete a race is about 18 minutes if you are in the middle of the pack.

The mind-boggling gap that Wiley puts on these runners is almost incomprehensible. He is in the top 5% of runners in the entire world, and he is just getting better.

All these accomplishments have happened to catch the attention of colleges as well. Multiple big time universities have reached out to Wiley regarding his talents. When asked what college scouts are communicating with him, he responded, “I’ve had coaches from Boston U, Illinois State, Temple, Western Illinois, and a couple others reach out.” It is safe to say that Wiley will be given an opportunity to be great in the next stage. Though he has stated that he doesn’t “know exactly what I want to accomplish in college” and hasn’t made any agreements with a school, it’s no secret that university doors are opening for Wiley (Wiley).

His hard work and dedication have brought a new level of competitiveness and passion for the sports of cross country and running. He says, “I take advantage of my time to build a foundation and work at it from there with the little things,” and he has inspired teammates and other runners substantially.

With Wiley preparing to enter the third cross country sectional of his high school career, he continues to work harder than ever and further inspire generations to come. A final quote from when he was asked what he would like to say to future athletes, Wiley responded with, “don’t be afraid to get into the sport. Bill Dawson said ‘you get out what you put in.’” This can be applied toward anything life throws at someone. So whether an athlete is just getting into running or is a retired veteran runner, the unfinished story of Luke Wiley can be one to get them out the door and chase what the can become.