Amazing Athletes: Caleb Bavlnka

Marc Chauvin, Reporter

“Why do I do this?” Bavlnka said.

This is the only thing that goes through his mind as he runs a five kilometer race, 3.106 miles of the most challenging sport around.

Cross Country began in England as a complex sport called “Hare and Hound.” Choose a single person to be the “Hare” and all other team members will be the hounds. The hare leaves a paper trail and the hounds must follow the trail. It was meant to mimic an actual hound tracking a rabbit down using its sense of smell. The person who was chosen to be the “Hare” has to run to a set finish line, which is approximately 3.1 miles away from where the start point was. Cross-Country was started as an off season conditioning; and was originally seen as a joke, although now it is a sport that has millions of participants.

Bavlnka started his running career in 7th grade when he lived in Belgium. He joined for the same reason most kids join; his friends were all doing it. When he moved to Columbia, he joined the Cross-Country and Track team because it was easy to make friends.

“He doesn’t do much besides eat healthy, stretch, and practice” said Jordan Bavlnka, Caleb Bavlnka’s brother.

Jordan Bavlnka started running Cross-Country around the same time his brother did. Over the years, he and his brother have worked together to improve their endurance and speed. Since 2013, the Bavlnka’s time have improved drastically. Jordan watched Caleb run his best race in the “Europeans”, an extremely hilly course that pushed Bavlnka hard. Jordan looks up to Bavlnka because he has always been the fast one while Jordan has to put more effort in to improve.

“It’s pretty surreal, I don’t really think about the course” says Bavlnka as he prepares for a race.

Mr. Leuchtmann, Bavlnka’s EEE teacher, said “he’s a rare-breed.”

Bavlnka is an old soul, full of grit and an unstoppable drive. He is a problem solver, and a gifted mathematician. The traits of greatness run through his veins. Great runners are the people who can push themselves past their limits. They come to an obstacle and they keep striding through it. Bavlnka is a truly eccentric person, according to Leuchtmann.

Bavlinka has dedicated quite a bit of his life to running, and has cut his times each time he competes. He will run for the rest of his life, but he plans on ending his Cross-Country career when he graduates high school.