Little Known Legends
The traditional sports recieve a lot of attention at Judge Memorial, just like at thousands of other high schools across the country. The student body and parent supporters show up in droves to support the football and basketball teams and other sports, and rightly so. But two sports that recieve less support than all the rest are cross country and track & field, but I'm referring to cross country in particular, a sport where two Judge Memorial athletes have gone on to become elite runners in their competitive circles while much of the student body is still unaware.
Now, it's not hard to see why little fans show up at cross country meets. It's not exactly considered a spectator sport, although to some, such as myself, cross country is definitely enjoyable to watch. But many people may think they missed out when they find out exactly who Patrick Smyth and Luke Puskedra are.
Luke is probably the most familiar, as he graduated in 2008 and went on to run on one of the top cross country teams in the nation at the University of Oregon. His freshman year alone, he was named Top Freshmen, All American, and finished 5th overall at the NCAA National Championships for a second place finish on the Ducks team along with being part of the national championship team. Not a bad start.
Pat Smyth was a senior when Luke was a freshman and went on to run at the University of Notre Dame, where he finished top in the Big East multiple years and was an All American, finishing in the top of the field at the NCAA championships as well. Now that he has graduated, Pat has decided to continue his running career as part of Team USA Minnesota. As such, he has earned a spot in the World Cross Country Championships that will take place in Poland this year. This is an amazing feat, to say the least, and it amazes me to know that I am part of the same tradition as Pat at Judge. At the bottom of this post is a video of an interview with Pat where he talks about his running experiences. When I looked at flotrack.org and saw Pat's video next to videos of some of the greatest runners of all time, I was stunned. Not because I was surprised that his name was up there, but because so few people in the Judge community know about it.
This isn't to say that other athletes from Judge don't go on to do great in other sports as well, but this is certainly a step above most. Big things are definitely on the horizon for both Luke and Pat, so people might want to start paying attention.