Kyle Lund is not sure when he will next race.
Already one of the top high school 800-meter runners in the country, Lund was hoping to dip below the 1 minute, 50-second mark in that race during the outdoor track season for Oakdale High School.
But it’s uncertain if there will even be a spring sports season for Maryland public schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state has already said that schools will not open until April 27 at the earliest, and spring sports typically conclude a month later over Memorial Day weekend.
Then, in early June, Lund was going to join some of the fastest high school runners in the country at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle before that event was wiped out by the virus.
So, with each passing day, it’s becoming all the more likely that Lund, a senior at Oakdale and one of the best middle-distance runners in state history, will be wearing a Brigham Young University uniform the next time he steps to the starting line.
Lund recently committed to BYU, the reigning NCAA men’s cross-country champion, after running a state-record time for all classifications (1:52.57) in the 800 at the state indoor meet in mid-February. At the time, it was the third fastest time in the nation for a high school runner, according to Oakdale coach Dave Lillard.
“My guess is he would have been able to [go sub-1:50] this [spring],” Lillard said, speaking as if there won’t be a spring season. “He probably would have been one of the best 800-meter runners Maryland would have seen in 20 to 30 years. It’s kind of a shame for him.”
If he never races again for Oakdale, Lund authored a sensational final act in his time with the Bears.
In addition to his record 800 time at the state indoor meet on Feb. 17, Lund won the 1,600 (4:19.41) and anchored two winning relays, the 4x800 and 4x400. He helped account for 40 of Oakdale’s 84 points, as the Bears were the Class 2A team champions on the boys side for the fourth consecutive state meet. That includes the past two outdoor championships.
Last fall, Lund won the 2A boys cross-country championship (15:47.76), edging Kent Island’s Finn Walsh by less than a second at the finish line and helping the Oakdale boys claim their first state team title in cross-country.
“My career has been better than I ever thought it would be,” Lund said. “Basically, I gave track a try because running seemed to be something that I was pretty good at.”
With the world in the grip of a pandemic and the possibility there won’t be spring sports, Lund said, “It sucks. I would hate to have the season suddenly stopped short. But, at the same time, there is a lot that I have already accomplished.”
Lund reaffirmed that he is not one to get that sentimental. So, the idea that his high school career might lack closure or that he might not get the chance to say a formal goodbye to his coaches and teammates won’t hit him too hard.
He was already going to miss his senior prom, because it occurred on the same day as the Class 2A West regional track meet, and skip Oakdale’s graduation ceremony, because it coincided with his cross-country trip to Seattle for the Brooks PR meet.
But there are obviously people and things that he will dearly miss as they relate to running for Oakdale.
“We were hoping to get a fifth state title in a row [for track and field],” Lund said. “We were hoping to do the triple crown with cross-country, indoor and outdoor team titles in the same year. Those were all things pretty well within reach.”
At BYU, Lund will be pushed by some of the best college runners in the nation. That’s something he looks forward to, because he often hasn’t been tested very much during his high school races.
Lillard believes Lund will have a spot on the Cougars’ 4x800 relay as a freshman.
On the challenge ahead, Lund said, “Running with a bunch of guys who are better than I am, it’s going to be different. I am excited to see how much better I can get.”