King Combest is off and running on the track in 2021 — and running very well.
King, 13, a seventh-grader at Burns Middle School, zipped to a first-place finish in the 60-meter dash at the Kentucky Track & Cross Country Association (KTCCA) Age-Group Indoor Classic on Sunday at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center in Louisville.
He covered the distance in 7.40 seconds — the second-fastest time in United States history for boys competing in the 13-14 age division.
“I was a little nervous, but I was really ready to run,” said King, who is 5-foot-4, 120 pounds. “I went up there ready to win, ready to show myself and others that I’m going to have a big season on the track.
“I’ve put in a lot of work — the coronavirus (pandemic) hasn’t stopped me. I’ve gotten bigger and stronger. It’s a matter of putting the talent I have with a lot of hard work with my dad.”
King’s father is Casey Combest, the former Owensboro High School All-American who still holds the U.S. high school record for 60 meters indoors (6.57), set in Columbus, Ohio, in 1999.
“I was really pleased with the way King ran this past weekend in Louisville,” Casey said. “because he’s really put in the hard work, and that shows him what happens when you do that.
“Even during the pandemic, he’s worked hard — a lot of running, sit-ups, push-ups. We’ve gotten outside when the weather’s allowed us to and he’s been going three days a week to Progressive Rehab (Sports Therapy), which has played a big role in keeping him injury free and loose all the time.”
The immediate goal for King is to break the indoor 60 meters age-group record (7.37), and Casey said his son will have three or four more opportunities to do so. In March, King will travel to Louisville in search of a Kentucky middle school state championship.
The long-range goal is for King to break his father’s long-standing indoor 60-meter national high school record.
“Dad wants me to be the one to break it, and he believes I can break it one day,” King said. “But to do that I have to keep working hard. He’s working a lot with me on coming out of the blocks faster and more explosive and that’s going to be a big key to it all — it’s about being aggressive right out of the blocks.”
King, who also had an outstanding season on the football field last fall for BMS, is excited about putting together a big year on the track.
“I still just want to keep pushing all the time, become the best sprinter I can be,” King said. “It’s all about putting that work in, day after day. When you’re willing to do that, good things are going to happen for you in competition.”