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Mile runner hitting stride in final season with Lopers

Luke Stuckey broke the school-record in the indoor mile. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

Following years of dissatisfaction with his 1,600-meter times, Luke Stuckey has finally hit his stride in his final season with the Lopers. The redshirt senior recently broke the school record in the event, running a 4:04.95 in the Gorilla Classic in February.

While his successes haven’t always come easy, one word always sticks with him. Perseverance. 

“Over the last couple years, I’d been a little frustrated with how my mile had gone because the 1,500 had been going so well,” Stuckey said. “I had broken the school record in the 1,500 a while back, so I kind of thought that following indoor season the mile was going to come too, and it didn’t. Finally in my last indoor season, it has started to click.”

At the MIAA Indoor Championships, Stuckey won his first conference indoor title, winning the mile at 4:06.64. 

He will now travel to the NCAA Indoor Championships in Virginia on Friday, where he is seeded 15th. Stuckey is also a member of the distance medley relay team with Wes Ferguson, Micah Swedberg and Peyton Davis, where they are seeded eighth at 9:44.48. 

“What he’s doing is what I would’ve expected him to do,” said UNK track and field coach Brady Bonsall. “I think he’s capable of even more. He’s gaining momentum here at the end of the season, which is big. Carrying that momentum from the Gorilla Classic and from the MIAA meet into the national meet, I think he’ll have some good things happen.”

Running has always been a part of Stuckey’s life. In high school, he was a three-time Class B state qualifier, a two-time state champion in the 3,200 and a one-time champion in the 1,600. 

“I’ve been doing track and field since middle school, and even some before that,” Stuckey said. “It’s been extremely important. At this point, I can’t really remember what it was like before being in track and field. I’ve learned a lot through the sport, met some of my best friends through the sport and it’s just been a lot of fun.”

When it matters the most, Stuckey steps up. A lot of athletes get nervous under the pressure, but not him. 

“It’s good confirmation of a guy that works hard and competes hard,” Bonsall said. “He’s as good or better in the championship meets as he is in the regular season.”

This is Stuckey’s final season with the Lopers, as he will be graduating in May with a degree in Biology. He will attend UNMC in the fall. 

Inside the top 10 in the distance medley relay, 800, 1,000, 1,500, 1,600 and 5,000, Stuckey’s name will remain in the UNK record books for years to come. 

“It means a lot,” Stuckey said. “Our school program has been very strong consistently throughout the years distance-wise. That makes it extra special to just be amongst all those names that I’ve known for so long.”

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KEVIN BURD, Sports Edior
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