Going D1

Track star accomplishes dream of becoming a Division 1 athlete


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Senior Sam Kirchner ran the one mile and two mile at state last year. He is looking forward to taking home a gold medal to end his senior season with a bang. “I would like to place better than I did last year.” Kirchner said. “Going to state, I want my mindset to be focused on making sure I am able to perform at my best ability.”

Alex Van Gerpen, Staff Reporter

Most days, you’ll see senior Samuel Kirchner running around town or training at track practice. One of Kirchner’s lifelong goals is to become a D1 athlete.

To achieve his goal, Kirchner has invested a lot of his time and energy throughout his life. When he isn’t at track meets or practice, Kirchner is always seen putting in that extra work physically and mentally. He prepares himself by participating in races and triathlons throughout the country and spends time lifting weights in the gym. With the help from friends, parents and coaches, Kirchner is able to take the right steps to become the best athlete he can be.ap

Running isn’t the only thing he has done. Kirchner has taken part in many other sports like soccer, lacrosse, swimming and, for a year, basketball . All of these have made a big contribution to his accomplishments as they prepared him physically and mentally. 

Kirchner started receiving offers from schools in and out of state his junior year. He went on numerous college visits to get the feel of where he was going and to see what they had in store for him. It was a hard decision, but he was able to boil it down to one school. The University of Nebraska Lincoln was his final decision because it was his childhood dream, and he loved what they had to offer him not just athletically but academically.

“I ran cross country and track for Russell Middle School.” Kirchner said. “Fun fact, I wasn’t going to do cross country or track going into high school.” 

Kirchner’s childhood dream came to reality after his commitment. He began his long journey back in sixth grade when he ran cross country and track for Russell Middle School. Kirchner did exceptionally well in middle school, winning almost all of his races and competing in districts for his team.  Three years down the road, Kirchner came into high school having no intent of running for the Millard West Track and Field or cross country teams.

Joining the teams was a mere accident for Kirchner. Because of the annual activity fair Millard West hosts for incoming freshmen, he was talked into joining the teams.

Kirchner has run in all the long distance races and relays but competes in different races each meet depending on set circumstances. His best event is the two mile, but he enjoys running the mile the most.

From then until now, Kirchner’s love for the sport grew greatly as his drive and determination to get better every day as his drive and determination to get better everyday was supported by the people around him. His coaches and teammates are very proud of him, and they have faith that he will be successful on and off the track as he journeys to the next level. As his skills for track speak for itself, he also hones many skills in time management as he runs his own lawn care business and is a straight-A student. 

“I think Sam will be very successful,” head coach Collin Johnston said. “Throughout high school, he has put in an unbelievable amount of work.”

Kirchner’s teammates have played a big role in his success as they always push him to his highest potential in practice and cheer him on in his races. Senior teammate Cole Haith, who is committed to Creighton for track, sees Kirchner as a leader of not just the long distance group but for the team as a whole.

“He keeps us accountable and makes sure we aren’t sipping out on certain things.” Haith said. “He will lead the group through workouts in the begining to make sure that we are on the right pace to begin with. He will also step up and lead the beginning of races.”

Kirchner will continue his preparation for the next level while finishing his high school career with a bang at State. He hopes to leave with a big name for upcoming athletes to look up to and strives to place in State.