BY JOSH SIGLER KOKOMO TRIBUNE
---- — On many fronts, Jeremy Breedlove has received a top-notch education on what it takes to succeed as a distance runner during his four years at Kokomo High School.
As a teammate of current Brigham Young University runner Adrian Glover, Breedlove saw the dedication and work ethic it took to reach the NCAA Division I level.
And, after suffering a broken foot on two separate occasions during his sophomore season, he learned the importance of proper mechanics and footwear.
Breedlove has made the most of those lessons, signing this week to continue his track and cross country careers at IUPUI.
”I really just like the team and atmosphere and felt it was a good fit. I’m pretty happy with the decision,” Breedlove said. “It definitely feels good to say with 100 percent assurance that I know exactly where I’m going. Now, all I have to worry about is getting my times down as far as I can to get ready for tournament time.”
Breedlove is a two-time Kokomo Sectional runner-up in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs for the Wildkats’ track and field program, doing so in both his sophomore and junior campaigns.
He was unable to run in the regional meet as a sophomore due to a recurring foot problem that initially kept him out of the cross country postseason that fall.
However, with better knowledge of proper foot care, he enjoyed a fully healthy junior track campaign, and finished the season with an eighth-place finish in the 1,600 and 10th-place finish in the 3,200 at last season’s regional meet.
Kokomo cross country coach Ricke Stucker, who also works with the Kats’ track and field distance athletes, has seen Breedlove grow immensely over the past four years.
“He has listened a lot better,” Stucker explained. “He was hurt early in his career because he was using the wrong kind of shoes and wearing them too long. He finally bought into our shoe philosophy and has really flourished in his junior and senior years.
“He really became a leader when Adrian Glover was here and saw what it took to be a champion,” Stucker added. “This past summer he became a vocal leader as well as a leader by example. You don’t have very many kids like that, so he has really helped our team flourish.”
Breedlove has steadily improved on the cross country course over the back half of his prep career, as well. As a junior, he finished sixth in the Logansport Sectional and 13th at the Culver Academy Regional to qualify for the semistate.
He returned as a senior and established himself as one of the top runners in the state, taking sectional runner-up honors before placing eighth in the regional and 12th in the New Prairie Semistate to qualify for the state finals, where he finished 72nd to grab IATCCC 4A All-State honorable mention honors. He was also an academic all-state honorable mention selection.
“No one works harder than Jeremy,” Stucker said. “He comes from a fine family. ... He’s the total package. Everyone would love to have him as their son.”
IUPUI’s men’s cross country and track programs are coached by Chuck Koeppen, who earned acclaim as Carmel High School’s boys and girls cross country coach, leading the Greyhounds to a combined 22 state titles in 37 seasons. He also guided the Hounds’ boys track team to a state title in 2000.
IUPUI’s men’s cross country squad finished third in the Summit League Championships last fall before taking 11th in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
The track and field program only competes in distance events, something Breedlove found additionally appealing.
“It’ll be a transition going from being one of the top runners around here towards the back of the pack once I get to college,” Breedlove added. “I’m really excited for that, because it’ll give me goals and I’ll always be able to push myself really hard. I’m going to give it my best effort and see where that takes me.”