WILLIAMSTOWN — Of the five sports Ben Weekley enrolled as a student-athlete at Wood County Christian, he didn’t necessarily see himself competing in cross country at the top level.
Several years had passed since the eldest had taken part in the fall activity, but after returning from a series of injuries over the past two years, his love for running resurfaced this spring during the athletics season. In the middle of the schedule, he started training on the hurdles. By the time the Class A track meet rolled around, Weekley was third in the 110 high hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.
This desire to race and the success it created brought back memories of ninth and tenth grades when he represented WCCS in cross country. At his signing ceremony on Friday, Weekley officially announced that he would be joining Fairmont State University’s cross-country program.
“I’ve always had an interest in cross country – I did that in sixth grade, but taking it to the next level in cross country is a bit unexpected,” said Weekley. “I’ve always loved football and thought maybe there would be a chance to play in college.”
Rehabilitation from a broken shin, knee surgery and a stress fracture with his foot has limited Weekley to goalkeeping on the pitch for the past two seasons. Once he was back to full health during track season, he turned to several road hurdlers at Williamstown High School for training advice. Virtually dating to dating, Weekley set personal bests and set new school records.
“Ben has a lot of natural abilities,” said WCCS boys and girls athletics coach Dave Weekley, who is also Ben’s father.
“We just wanted to put him out there and see what he could do. Another three to four weeks of fitness with the track and he probably could have been very competitive.
“We are delighted with our third and fourth places with only five weeks of racing in the season.”
In addition to cross country, track and field, and men’s soccer, Ben played several seasons with the WCCS basketball team, starting at second base and batting over .300 as a rookie for the Wildcat baseball team.
“Running has been Ben’s secondary sport until this year,” said Dave Weekley.
“We always teased him about how both sides of the families were heavily involved in the track and were good racers. Track season was around, why do we have time to get him in shape to work with his athleticism?
“The summer will be spent trying to get him to work on a base. And to increase it without hurting yourself.
Admittedly, there’s no comparison between the distances Ben thinks he’ll cover in cross-country versus hurdles. Yet the feet have been set in motion and Ben has the family genes to see it through.
“They had a Falcon Day that we attended in college – they had a bunch of classes and we went to one for the NCAA,” said Ben. “I was like, I might as well give it a shot and attend. When the athletics season arrived, I realized that I was not ready to give up my athletic career.
“Oh yeah, I’m ready to hit practice hard. I’ve given myself a week after the track meet to really make sure I’m clear. Then I’ll start running. The change in miles will be a good change of pace. It’s going to be intense, but it’s also going to be manageable.”
Ben Weekley’s area of interest at FSU focuses on civil engineering. The long-term plan is to enter the master’s program in engineering management.
“I’ve been to Fairmont State for different academic events – love the campus,” said Ben. “It’s a quaint little town. I am enthusiastic about the academic side and the sports side.
Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]