Kratz Runs Record-Breaking Races


Hunter Kratz finishing

Tanis Lorring, Staff Editor

On Friday, May 12, track and field coach Teresa Bickling traveled to Kodiak with five hand-picked athletes for the highly competitive Brian Young Invite. The meet transports top athletes from all over the state, offering a unique opportunity to pit the best against the best. This year, Seward High School chose distance runners Hunter Kratz and Ruby Lindquist, high-jumper Coral Petrosius, and thrower Eli Davis to represent their team. Each ran fast and jumped high and threw far; each made Seward proud to call them their own. However, Hunter Kratz went a step further. On Friday, Kratz broke the school record for the 1600 meter race and on Saturday, he broke the school record for the 800 meter.

Friday was a bright and sunny morning in Kodiak. Kratz had one race, one chance. “All my energy was put into [that race],” Kratz said. “When I ran, I felt light and quick and just kinda went with the pace. I finished and someone told me I ran a 4:23 … it was slightly unexpected.” Kratz went to Kodiak to run — to do what he does best — but he ended up making a mark. “It was really cool to break an old record that nobody’s touched for 30 years. It was a way to leave my mark on the school and in running. It’s only up from here.” Coincidentally, this monumental day also took place on his birthday. Eighteen years and here he is, breaking records and presently holding the title of the fastest 800m time in the state.

Earlier this year, Kratz also signed to Chadron State College for indoor/outdoor track and cross-country running. Before his record-breaking race, Chadron’s initial offer was to pay full tuition and half of his room and board. However, since he ran under a 4:25 for the 1600m, Chadron will now pay full tuition and full room and board. When asked what caught his eye about the college, Kratz replied with, “The team was really awesome; the coach was young and motivated. Their team is on an upswing and I wanted to be a part of the beginning of this baby team and help things get rolling. They were the school that had me the most motivated for college running.”

People may wonder the source of this runner’s success. Where does all this talent come from? How did he get so fast? Since his freshman year, Kratz has lived by the quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” He admitted that this philosophy greatly contributed to his success. “You really can’t rely on [talent], you have to be willing to go past that and to work a little harder … I realized my freshman year that I was only going to get so far on talent. If I wanted to run faster, I was going to have to work harder.”

Hunter Kratz is a prime example of combining hard work and talent to achieve one’s dreams.  After breaking a cross-country record earlier this year and breaking both records for the 1600m and the 800m, the proof is evident. Even though Seward is sad to see its strongest runner leave it behind, we are proud to have called him our own and thrilled to see what he accomplishes next. All we know is that his mark has been made, and the records broken. Now, long may his records reign.