Luke Brahm has never made it to the Indiana State Cross Country meet. This year he is hoping that will change. The Ben Davis High School senior has already posted a new personal best of 15:17 and run sub 16 minutes in all five races he's competed in. Brahm says of the season, so far so good.
"Cross is going really well. Right now I am about where I wanted to be during this point of the season. I'm really pleased with consistency. Other than the State Preview at Laverne Gibson every race has been under 15:40. I am excited for the postseason to come around and hopefully some fast times to follow."
Standing in his way of a state title is one of the best runners in the nation, North Central senior Futsum Zeinasellassie. The two have already battled it out twice this season with Zeinasellassie winning in impressive fashion both times. Brahm has nothing but high praise for his fellow runner.
"Futsum is just a ridiculously talented guy. He was running even with the lead pack this weekend until about 3800 where he threw in a monster surge and ended up beating us by around 20 seconds. I race him this week at our conference meet, and I'm really looking forward to racing him again. Maybe victory isn't quite in the picture (barring something out of the ordinary), but a fast time certainly is."
The Hoosier state is loaded with talent including Zeinasellasie. So how do you game plan against a guy like that? Brahm says the key is to focus on the other competition and stick to your race.
"You can take a lot of mindsets, but I usually just go with whatever race plan I think will allow me to run the fastest and beat everyone I should. Sometimes this means keying off of Futsum and sometimes you might have to push the pace early a little to ensure an honest effort. Racing Futsum frequently which we do definitely makes you better as long as you learn to live with the fact of how good he is this year in cross."
Over the past three seasons Brahm has experienced highs and lows. He captured a state title during track season as a member of the Ben Davis 4x8 team. This past spring he competed in the mile at Nationals. He says running at Hayward Field was an incredible experience and the PR to go along with it was just icing on the cake.
"It was totally surreal. Hayward Field is a track mecca. It's unlike any place I've ever run. I ran a 4:13.9 converted 1600 which is my PR."
His times speak for themselves. He is one of the top ranked runners in the state of Indiana. Despite all that Brahm has never made it to the state finals in cross country. It's something he realizes needs to change.
"I know it's bad. I haven't ran in a state cross country meet because I haven't qualified for one yet. I ran terrible last year at Semi-State and wasn't good enough my sophomore year. Freshman year I only ran once or twice a week and I didn't run at all during the summer."
In addition to running Brahm also competed in soccer for several years as well as swimming. He still spends time in the water cross training and keeping in shape. This past summer he swam for the local pool and even taught swim lessons. In addition to training he credits his success to a great coaching staff.
"We have a stellar coaching staff, and almost all of the credit can go to them. All I do is whatever they say to do, and so far its worked out pretty well. Not insane training, but I think enough for high school."
His dad Terry Brahm ran at Indiana and was a 1988 Olympian in the 5000 meters. Luke says he has learned a ridiculous amount from him in regards to training and racing and has used that throughout his high school career. The senior plans to run in college, but insists it is still early in the recruiting process and nothing is set in stone.
"Indiana is one of the schools I'm looking at. One school I really like and have visited is Princeton. They have a top rate program in track and cross country paired with one of the top academic schools in the nation."
A self proclaimed student of the sport, Brahm lists his favorite quote of all time as one from 'Once A Runner'. He says that book is hands down the best running book out there . His passion extends beyond books and movies. It is all encompassing.
"I love pretty much everything to do with running. I love to geek out for hours just talking about running."