ARNOLD, Neb. (KNOP) - Leighton Bubak is a three-sport athlete for the South Loup Bobcats. Playing football and basketball helps him prepare for his favorite sport, track.
"It definitely helps you keep in shape and it develops different muscles, and lifting for football, and the conditioning for basketball, they both contribute a lot to the track season," Bubak said.
Bubak is a sprinter on the track team, and has qualified all three of his previous years for state as a part of the Bobcat 4x100 meter relay team. In his junior year, South Loup moved from Class D to Class C, yet Bubak qualified for the 100 meter dash. He did not qualify for the final heat, but hopes to his senior season.
"Class C's pretty tough, but I definitely feel faster this year, and it would be really cool to final, and also I've been chasing our school record, I'm getting pretty close, so hopefully I can get that this year," Bubak said.
Rick Peterson has been the coach at South Loup for nearly 40 years, and coached Bubak's parents when they were in high school. Peterson says Bubak's talent comes from his genetics, but also his confidence.
"His mom and his dad were both really fast for us and were both state ranked. We've got just an incredible senior class of boys. It's caused all of our success for quite a while, they were sophomores when we won state. Success breeds confidence, and since he's had that success, he's got a lot of confidence going into this now," Peterson said.
When asked how Bubak has changed since beginning high school, Peterson said, "Well I've known him since he was a day or two old, so he's changed a lot since then... he's just more mature, more confident"
Bubak's favorite event to run is the 100 meter dash, "I like how important the start is, it's really crucial in that race, and if you have a good one, it can propel you to a win," he said.
Bubak is also a leader to his fellow athletes. In track, a lot of times the coaches tell the athletes what workouts to do and trust them to get them done on their own. Bubak says he tries to encourage his teammates to keep bettering themselves.
"Track can be a little less serious than the other sports, we want to have fun out here, but a lot of times the coaches will tell us our workout, and then we go do our own, so we've gotta make sure everyone's trying hard and doing their best, and making themselves better," Bubak said.
"Leighton's got a really good work ethic, and he pushes me to do better," said Grant Jones, a junior sprinter and thrower on the team. "He just pushes himself every day, tries to get better. He's really fast, just gifted. He likes track, it's his favorite sport. He's always trying to better himself at everything he can do"
Not only is Bubak a great athlete, he is also a great student. He was awarded the believer and achiever award, which is given to students who excel in the classroom and participate in NSAA sanctioned events.
"He's one of our better students obviously, he's been a contributor throughout all of his years, he's kind of hit his peak his senior year here," Peterson said.
Bubak's parents hold a few records at South Loup, he originally aimed to beat his father's triple jump record, and got close to doing so, but stopped participating in the triple jump before he could. He believes that he would've been able to beat it if he kept at it.