WILLIAMSBURG — Luke Tompkins, a cross country runner for Jamestown High School (JHS), is college-bound to join Christopher Newport University’s (CNU) Cross Country team this fall.
Luke took to running during his time in middle school where he was inspired by his dad, JHS Cross Country and Track & Field Coach Mark Tompkins.
“The summer before Cross Country started, we started running a lot more, and I decided that I wanted to try it out because it had such a big impact on his life,” said Luke in an interview with WYDaily. “So I decided that I wanted to try and take that path, too. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Luke says that on top of all the friends made over the years and the camaraderie between JHS teammates he’ll never forget his first state meet as a freshman.
“I’ve worked really hard to make the top seven as a freshman, and the state meet was just like an experience that I haven’t had before in a race,” said Luke. “It felt like such a big stage, and that being my first state meet is probably the moment that I’ll remember going forward.”
As he carries on with his athletic career, the CNU prospect will increase the distances at which he trains. Typically at the collegiate level, men’s cross country teams compete at 8K distances (which is five miles). The runner plans on adjusting his training so that he can practice longer distances over the summer to prepare for these new college distances.
The training and preparation have been a journey to get to this point. Luke can easily recall the first time he talked with the head coach of CNU’s Cross Country team, Coach Danny Feldman, and it was a phone call that motivated him to keep working on his personal race times. Then, in August, he went to CNU to visit the campus for two days where he ended up actually practicing with the university’s cross country team. After the visit, Luke knew CNU was the right path for him.
“I think the most memorable thing from Cross Country and track is definitely all my teammates,” said Luke. “I’ve made so many friends through the four years from every different class, people that have graduated, and the freshmen this year. I think that’s the most memorable part.”
Luke was one of the team captains this year. As the JHS Cross Country team’s seniors prepare to graduate JHS, Luke and the others hope that the culture and work ethic that has been passed to them have been successfully passed to the freshman and sophomores this year.
“You have the new freshman and sophomores come in, and you want them to kind of continue on what you’ve been doing the past four years. Like working hard, working together, and racing hard every meet,” said Luke. “You want to try to teach them that culture to make sure that they can keep the team strong for the next four years, and then they can pass that on to the next class.”
The cross country runner is considering a business major at CNU, and looks forward to practicing with his college team.
“I think just being a part of a team in college can be a big deal,” said Luke. “That’s a big part of playing a sport. Just like having friends and teammates, and just people that are doing the same thing as you. I think that’s a big part of sports for me.”