Jack Franklin appears to be in a class by himself. But it wasn’t always that way.
“I ran track in junior high but was pretty bad,” Franklin admitted. “I ran the 200 and 400 (meters). I was 4-11, 90 pounds.”
The U-High senior runs long distances nowadays and typically runs away from the competition. But one of the state’s top runners didn’t really want to go out for cross country when he entered high school.
“I was really shy and my parents wanted me to meet people,” said Franklin. “They said you have to go or you’re grounded. I went and it was a good decision.”
Franklin has come a long way since those shy days as a junior higher. He’s No. 1 in his class U-High and would like to study accounting in college.
He says running cross country is helping him keep his 4.0 grade point average.
“It takes a lot of dedication to 7, 8, 9 miles a day everyday,” Franklin said. ‘To stay focused for such a long period of time. It helps in the classroom. I think there’s a correlation.”
Franklin has won regional and sectional races the past two weekends. Saturday he runs in the Illinois High School Association state championship meet.
“He’s putting himself in pretty good position, running-wise and school-wise,” said U-High cross country Lester Hampton. “He is going to have a pretty good choice of where he wants to go.”
Where he wants to go Saturday is to the Detweiller Park finish line. First.