Luke Desmond is used to the looks he gets from unsuspecting sprint competitors as races are about to be run.
“They’re all buff and … then there’s me,” Desmond said, laughing. “Everybody kind of makes fun of me. But I’ll prove you wrong.”
The Windsor High School junior doesn’t have the stereotypical sprinter’s build, which is generally shorter and with thick, muscular thighs.
But he has the times to belong with the fastest of the fast.
Through Wednesday, he ranked fourth in the state in Class 4A in both the 400 meters (49.47 seconds) and the 200 (22.09) and was in state-qualifying position in the 100, with the 17th-best time (11.20).
And of course he’s a key piece of the Wizards’ medal-contending relay teams in the 4 x 400 meters (fifth in 4A at 3 minutes, 25.29 seconds), 4 x 200 (sixth, 1:30.62) and sprint medley (ninth, 1:45.47). Windsor’s 4 x 100 ranked 15th at 44.11.
So this guy is good.
Now, he’s not Usain Bolt good, but there is a comparison to be made.
“I hate to compare him to the greatest sprinter in the world currently, but he’s kind of got the Usain Bolt build,” Windsor coach Bryan Horn said. “He’s tall and lanky. He’s not the guy you see coming out of the weight room who is (powerfully built). He’s worked hard in the weight room, but he doesn’t have a lot of mass — he’s 6-foot-3 or 6-4 — and lanky.
“He just has an incredible turnover. That’s why I’d compare him to Usain Bolt, because you watch him at the starting blocks and there’s seven dudes who are absolutely ripped, and then there’s Luke who’s this skinny, tall kid. But as soon as he gets that turnover going — you can’t keep up with long legs.”
The quick turnover, the speed with which you can get your legs to take the next stride, is the key.
“For a sprinter, you usually look for shorter, stockier kids with a quick turnover,” Horn said. “But when you find that balance between stride and turnover, it’s incredible.”
Desmond is from a track family. His father competed at Iowa State, and siblings in Greeley at Central and University high schools.
“It’s been very important to my family,” Desmond said. “I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps and go to a Division I college.”
First things first, he’s got a senior season to make improvements, not to mention the rest of this season.
“I just want to set PRs (personal records) each week, focus on myself and not my competition,” Desmond said of his goals for the rest of the season.
At state, he’s looking to improve upon his 13th place result in the 400 from his sophomore season, when he ran a 50.56.
“I want to get top five for sure in the 400 and make the finals in the 200,” Desmond said. “The 400 is my main event.”
Said Horn: “He owns everything 400 or less on the track. He’s incredible.”
Last year, Windsor relays finished third in the 4 x 200 in 1:28.49 and qualified in the 4 x 100.
Despite heavy losses, they are rebuilding and competitive again.
And it’s more than just Desmond.
Junior Robert Colin has run 11.61 in the 100 and 23.23 in the 200
“He’s been kind of the second guy in line,” Horn said. “He’s been putting those relays into that next step. You always have your stud in relays, but you need three other dudes and Robert has been that second guy who really helps us out.”
After a rescheduled meet, Windsor gears up for the John Martin Invitational at Fort Collins High School on May 13 as the last-chance meet to qualify for the May 19-21 state championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.
“We want to make the finals and finish in the top 3 in the 4 x 4,” Desmond said. “In the 4 x 2, we want to make the finals, that’s for sure.”
That would be a just reward for Desmond.
“He’s grown up on track,” Horn said. “He loves track. He trains all year for it. He does the indoor season in the winter, trains all fall with us out in the field. He’s just a really hard-working really great kid who loves track. It’s awesome.”