Chris Welde hits new heights at Council Rock Kiwanis Invitational

NEWTOWN — From an aerial view, the 28th Annual Council Rock Kiwanis Track and Field meet looked like a kaleidoscope of athletic activity. Up close, you could see it was a carefully woven tapestry of individual stories and heroics.

One such story played out in the 100-yard dash where Council Rock North’s stellar sprinter Chris Welde battled blustery winds, minor injury and a stiff field of competitors to capture second place in a time of 11.14.

Chris, who most recognize as a mainstay on the Indian football team, is only in his second season of outdoor track. As he readily admits, aiming for excellence in his gridiron career led to his track involvement

“Growing up, part of my life has always been football. I wanted to work on my speed for football so I moved from baseball to track my junior year. I wanted to improve my 40 (yard dash) time.’

The competitor in Chris soon found he was performing for more than just personal reasons. “Obviously, track is an avenue for me to use to my advantage. I love competing. Even though it’s not a team like football, you’re still out there performing with you team and trying to earn points. The competitor in me kicks in and I get a rush.’

To really help his team’s cause, Chris tried several different events. “My main events are the 100, 200, 4×100, and 4×400. This year, I’m also going to try some long jump. I’m actually trying javelin this year.’

A slight injury brought about the venture into the field events. “I hurt my hamstring two weeks ago so instead of running, I tried to pick up the javelin. I was able to throw 132.9 with bad form so that’s obviously something I’m working on. Last year, I kept fouling in the long jump but I should be able to jump pretty far.’

Performing in such diverse events should help Chris’s college marketability. Presently, he is focusing on the University of Pittsburgh and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with the hope of pursuing a degree in engineering. “If I can do all those, than I can sell myself as a multi-event person and not just a sprinter.’

When it comes to sprinting, his gridiron career actually enhances his track prowess. “One of the reasons for my sprint success is the explosion I got from football, the explosion out of the blocks and staying low. Then it’s just keeping the speed from there. I also lead off for the 4×100 team.’

Though only in his second season, Chris has some definite goals. “I want to make it to states. Last year, I made it to districts in the 100, 200, and 4×100. I fell short in the 100 and 200 but our 4×100 was ranked fourth in the states. We didn’t even make it to district finals because of a bad handoff.’

Chris took a big step toward states with his performance in the 100 at the Kiwanis Classic, losing by a hair to Cheltenham’s Christian Brissett, who took first in a time of 10.80.

Unfortunately, the effort did aggravate Chris’s hamstring. “In the second 100 I ran, I was hyperextending, trying to beat Christian Brissett because I raced against him all winter. Racing against a competitor like that pushed me. I just extended too much in the end and tweaked it.’

A true team player, Chris was more upset over letting his relay teammates down than his own personal discomfort. “I was disappointed with my hamstring and not being out there with the 4×100 team. They were able to win without me.’

Council Rock’s sprint team consisting of Sam Wong, Tyler Luc, Sean Mazlin and Dave Gumino won their event in a time of 43.82. Other Indians earning medals were Dave Gumino in the 200, Ben Heintz and Sean Griswold in the 1500, Brian Avita in the 3000, and Nick Wu in the discus.

Apparently, the Indians found their home environs most accommodating. Chris certainly did. “With the Kiwanis Invitational, other people come to us. It’s really nice to have it at our own place. We have our own fans and we’re used to that track. You’re more relaxed and you can really focus.’

The whole atmosphere inspired a personal best time for Chris. “It was great just knowing I had a new PR and I can continue to go faster. Obviously, hitting a new personal best is a great feeling because you go out to practice each day and work hard trying to get a little faster. There’s a big reward showing how your hard work pays off.’

His competitive drive should earn Chris several more payoffs before his scholastic career ends.

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