WALKER — There once was a classic 1950s television show “Father Knows Best.”
A working title for the story behind Brady Warren’s success might be “Mother Knows Best.”
Through the early part of the high school cross country season the Walker High senior has established himself as the Baton Rouge area’s top boys competitor.
Credit Warren’s mother, Sandy, who convinced him to run in a road race when he was in middle school.
“I played football when I was in elementary school, but my mom always thought I should be a runner,” Warren said. “She ran in road races. So, when I was in middle school, she got me to run in a road race with her. I guess I’ve been running ever since.”
Warren won last weekend’s Battlefield Cross Country Festival at the Port Hudson State Historical Site in Jackson, posting a three-mile time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds on a rain-soaked course.
Class 5A Walker also claimed the team title over a field that included local powers, 5A Catholic High and 4A St. Michael.
The Wildcats ranked fifth in the latest statewide polls for Class 5A-3A released by the Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association.
Last weekend’s effort followed Warren’s fourth place at Episcopal’s Round Table Run on Sept. 15. He recorded a personal-best time of 15:41 on the Highland Road Park course at the Round Table Run.
Grabbing the highest place finishes is something relatively new for Warren. However, he is not another overnight sensations. Warren has been part of coach Will Silk’s cross country and track teams since he was a freshman, and he worked his way up through the ranks.
“Ever since Brady came out, he’s gotten more and more interested and more dedicated to running,” Silk said. “About a year ago, he decided he wanted to run at the next level, and I told him what that would take.
“Brady never hesitated. He jumped in with both feet, and has done everything we’ve asked of him.”
As he ran between 60 and 70 miles each week over the summer, alternating distance and sprint work at Walker’s Hutchinson Park and other sites, there was one race that inspired Warren.
And it wasn’t a race he won. Warren came to the Class 5A, Region 3 meet held in April at Catholic High looking to earn a berth at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Outdoor State Track & Field Meet in the 1,600 meters.
Warren ran a time of 4:28, which would be good enough to qualify at many other regional meets. But the top three finishers all went under 4:24 and Warren placed fourth, one spot away from qualifying.
“He ran a great race and didn’t qualify,” Silk said. “I think that’s helped motivate Brady this year. That’s a big goal for him … to make it to the state outdoor meet.”
One key for Silk is making sure Warren does his training within the proper parameters. After his freshman and sophomore seasons, Warren did too much mileage, which led to a series of lower leg injuries that impeded his progress.
Warren, who carries a 3.5 grade-point average and is considering a college major in sports medicine, understands those physical limits now.
“I did lot of mileage, but not as much as maybe over the previous summers,” Warren said.
“In the past, I did more and wound up getting injured. I had to be smarter about it. I knew my workouts had to be better, not longer.”
“I had a meeting with him at the end of track season,” Silk said. “And I told him, ‘Look, the No. 1 thing you need to do for your senior year is stay healthy.’ I told him if he can stay healthy, he can have a great year.
“He’s already a hard worker and has talent. When you put those two together and add the health factor, the possibilities are there. He’s fired up and excited, and so are we.”
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