Luke Estes of San Antonio Christian School has come a long way in his three seasons of high school cross country. Just getting into the sport of running and becoming competitive with it his freshman year of high school, he now looks to go into his senior season and achieve the goal of winning the state title for the second year in a row.
Estes talks about crossing the finish line at the state meet last year as being a humbling moment for him, saying that his initial thoughts and feelings right after were, “‘No way,’ I was in complete shock.” He confidently went into the meet and thought that the race would mainly be between him and one other competitor. “It was just going to come down to who had the better race and it was my given day so I was really happy about my results,” he said.
Being the son of two former collegiate runners, his parents always pushed him to give it a try, but with it not being his primary sport, he never thought to consider it. When Luke got to 7th grade, he decided to finally give the sport a try, just as the rest of his friends did, and stuck with it for that same reason. With a last minute decision to attend San Antonio Christian School for high school, Luke and his family got to talking to the school’s cross country coach, Kenny Dirskson, who agreed with Luke’s parents about wanting him to pursue running, and convinced him to try out.
“I wasn’t excited about it but I ended up trying it and I fell in love with it just because of Coach Kenny.”
As the Lions begin their season, Coach Dirkson expects big things of this senior leader and believes that with the hard work and effort that he continually puts in, he can be successful.
Dirkson has three very ambitions goals for Luke’s season. The first (and in Coach Dirksons opinion, the least important) is for Luke to defend his state title. Second, he wants Luke to run a competitive time at the Foot Locker Regional meet, one that Luke recently got invited to, and one that no other SA Christian student has ever been invited to. Last, he wants for Luke to perform well in the Nike South Cross Regional meet this November, in hopes of him getting to compete at the Nike Cross Nationals meet.
“I think all of those things are doable, some of those are more doable than others but that’s why you set goals, you set high goals in hopes to achieve them. They need to be hard but they need to be attainable and I think that all of those things are,” Coach Dirkson said.
While Luke and Coach Dirkson have a strong elationship shared by the love of running and competing, they also share a close friendship that has grown throughout the years as Luke has trained under the coach for his entire high school career. He talks about how he has enjoyed watching Luke grow up over the years and seeing all that he’s done in the sport.
He also jokes about his favorite memory of Luke from his freshman year when he was “just the most clueless freshman ever.” The team was in Corpus Christi for their district meet, and the mosquitos in the area were especially bothersome to Luke. Feeling frustrated by the bugs surrounding him, Luke turns to Coach Dirkson and asks, “How many mosquitos will be at the meet tomorrow?”
Laughing almost too hard to finish telling the story, Coach Dirkson adds, “He has not lived asking that question down. He could go to the Olympics and that’s the first thing I’d probably say.”
Luke’s success in the sport is attributed by his discipline and willingness to do all of the little things it takes to allow himself to be the best that he can be. He pays close attention to his nutrition, gives his all to his workouts, stretches when he needs to and prioritizes his time well. However, his success can also be accounted for by the pre-race rituals that he gives some credit to.
“I always have to have spaghetti the day before a meet, and I always have to have a supplement called “UCan” before a race, it just gets my body ready. And I always just have to listen to either Kanye or Drake; that’s what I use to get my head in the right mood.”
The dedication that Luke puts forth for his sport is sure to be seen as he continues his senior season. The runner also looks to continue his career and love for running and competing in college.