Up close and personal with Chase Rathke

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Up close and personal with Chase Rathke

Chase Rathke is a junior kinesiology major who is the reigning National Champion in the 1500m.

Chase Rathke is a junior kinesiology major who is the reigning National Champion in the 1500m.

Chase Rathke is a junior kinesiology major who is the reigning National Champion in the 1500m.

Chase Rathke is a junior kinesiology major who is the reigning National Champion in the 1500m.

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JTAC: Where are you from and what high school did you attend?

Chase Rathke (CR): I am from Waco where I attended Crawford High School.

JTAC: What events do you participate in for track & field?

CR: I do the 4×4 on occasion, the 800, 1500, mile, and 5k.

JTAC: What was the deciding factor when you chose to come to Tarleton, and did you have offers to run for any other schools?

CR: Yes, I actually had a lot of offers. I had offers from Baylor, Texas Tech, McNeese State, SFA, Lamar University, and, of course, Tarleton. I loved Tarleton because it was a smaller campus and, coming in, I knew Coach Ponder was a really good coach. I had a lot of respect for him and what he was doing with the program.

JTAC: Of all the coaches you have had, which of them has helped you the most, pushed you the most, or given you the best advice?

CR: I had a high school coach that got me started with running named Chris Schrader, who actually coached Coach Ponder in high school, and he was like a mentor to me and really helped me throughout my last two years of high school. Coach Ponder has done a tremendous job with keeping me focused and driven to reach my goals. He is with me just about every day helping me out with workouts and all the credit goes to him.

JTAC: How did it feel when you found out you qualified for Nationals?

CR: It was a relief. I actually only ran the 800 one time before Nationals and hit my provisional mark of 1:51.89 and was seeded 11th. Then once Conference rolled around, I was 13th, and then at the end of all the Conferences I was 15th in the nation. So, I was relieved to get the final results and know I actually made it in. I knew that I was better than the mark I put out and wanted to prove it.

JTAC: What did you do to prepare for nationals?

CR: I actually didn’t do much at all. I just went about it as another meet and took it one day at a time. I told myself just to relax and not get too nervous, and just stay focused.

JTAC: What was the first thing that went through your head when you realized you placed third at Nationals?

CR: I thanked the Lord and a kid that I knew that passed away this summer. I knew he was watching over me and I had to thank him also. I worked at a pool this summer where he passed away and it hit me really hard. I dedicated this season to him and I wanted to make him proud.

JTAC: What is your favorite Tarleton track memory?

CR: My favorite track memory would have to be this past weekend at Nationals.

JTAC: Any embarrassing moments?

CR: Oh, I have too many embarrassing moments that can’t be told on here. What happens amongst us is classified is all I can say.

JTAC: Who do you look up to most?

CR: I would have to say my parents and coaches. They all have different aspects that I learn and mature from every day. They are always there for me whenever I need them and I respect that.

JTAC: Will you prepare for the outdoor season now or is there something else you plan to do?

CR: It [outdoor track] starts today [March 16]. Sadly I don’t get any days off and have to go right back to work on Sunday with a nice easy 10 mile run.

JTAC: What are your life goals?

CR: To be a great father and husband first off. To have a job I love. And my athletic goals are to win a national title, qualify for the Olympic trials, and then qualify for the Olympics. I am about three seconds off right now of qualifying for the trials and I was two seconds from a national title, so I would say I am on the right track right now of hopefully accomplishing a couple of them.

JTAC: What are your outdoor track & field goals for this season?

CR: First off, to help my teammates make it to Nationals, and then worry about getting myself back and bringing home a national title to Stephenville.

Originally printed on March 24, 2014.