Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not Run-of-the-Mill Preus Steps into Role as One of Best in Cross Country

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not Run-of-the-Mill Preus Steps into Role as One of Best in Cross Country

Article excerpt

As a clergyman's son, Jack Preus Jr. found his calling - in athletics - at 14.

"Jack was kind of a couch potato," remembers his father, Jack Sr., an ordained priest and dean of faculty at Concordia Seminary in Clayton.

Wanting to set an example for his son, then a Lutheran South High freshman, the elder Preus would make "casual runs" into the dawn in pursuit of middle-age fitness.

"I was just one of those old guys slogging along in the streets before dawn," Preus Sr. said.

One day, Preus invited Jack Jr. to join him.

"I'd run around the neighborhood, and he'd make a mile," the elder Preus said.

Young Jack would give in to exhaustion, but he never tired of his goal to be No. 1.

The elder Preus said, "He just sort of got into it. Lo and behold, he got pretty good at it."

Good? Jack Preus, a senior, is one of Missouri's top runners. Preus is unbeaten in four races this season, and he'll be vying for his fifth consecutive win today in the St. Louis Metro Invitational at Jefferson Barracks Park.

Twice he has broken the 16-minute barrier. At the recent Hancock Invitational in Jefferson Barracks Park, he won in 15 minutes 58 seconds. At the Fulton (Mo.) Invitational, he turned in a career-best time of 15:49. Both courses were 3.1 miles.

Preus, 17, also has victories at the Lutheran South Invitational and the Eureka Invitational, posting times of 16:36 and 16:10, respectively.

At the state meet last November, Preus' sixth-place finish - coupled with a 10th-place finish by teammate Bryan Gill - catapulted Lutheran South to its first Missouri Class 3A cross country championship.

And last spring, Preus was second in the 3,200-meter run in Missouri Class 3A at the state track and field meet.

This from someone who didn't start running competitively until he was a sophomore.

"I have to attribute a lot of my success to Brian Carter and Tim Roos," Preus said, referring to former Lutheran South cross country runners who both were two-time, all-state medalists in Missouri Class 3A. …

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