By Rich Winter
Recently graduated St. Thomas More senior, Ty Trainor has had himself a heck of a senior season. Fourth at the Class A state cross-country meet, two individual state titles in track (400/800), a team title in track and a walk across the St. Thomas More stage to receive a diploma.
Prior to graduating, Trainor intended to sit down with what he calls a very talented STM 8th-grade class that includes younger brother Trace, and give them a little heads-up on having priorities in order for the first day of high school.
“My big idea going into ninth grade was it was going to be all about athletics and that was all that mattered,” Trainor said.
Having completed four years at St. Thomas More, Trainor’s tune has changed a bit.
“You can’t be an athlete if you don’t have the grades,” he said. “Grades are where it is at.”
Things got hectic coming down the stretch of May for Trainor and his family. While he didn’t get to speak with the STM 8th-graders this is Ty Trainor’s take on what’s really important in high school.
“I would have told them sports comes second and grades first,” Trainor said. “Kids need to be focused on school (academics), sports, family and faith.”
Ty Trainor an unlikely 400-meter state champion
At the start of the 2018 track season, Ty Trainor didn’t ever envision himself running an open 400. That 4thplace finish at the state cross country meet (5000 meters) gave a pretty good indication that Trainor would run the 800/1600, an occasional 3200 with a relay mixed in somewhere.
But, at a meet in Sturgis in late April the coaches asked him if he’d like to TRY the 400.
“Sturgis had this special 400 meters and the coaches said if you want you can try the event,” Trainor said.
Well, after cranking out a sub-51 on a horribly windy day, Trainor found himself in a new event.
“I ran it and had the 3rdfastest time in the state so I ended up running the 400,” Trainor said. “I ran 400’s in middle-school and I ended up winning an event at state I never thought I’d be competing in.”
That 400 title didn’t come easy though.
About 30 minutes before the 400 final, Trainor stepped on the track to compete in what many thought was his best event, the 1600 meters.
On the first lap of that race, Trainor took a look back to check where West Central Phenom, Derick Peters was, and he inadvertently stepped on the rail of the track, twisting his ankle.
Trainor took a few steps to gather himself, felt an abnormal pain and slowly dropped back, eventually, on the advice of his coach, shutting it down on the last lap and coasting in with a pedestrian (for him) time of 4:49.
With the 400 final coming up in just a few minutes, Trainor limped over to the training table.
“I was scared they were going to shut me down for the rest of the day,” he said.
Eventually Trainor was told there was some swelling and his mobility wasn’t good, but, he wouldn’t do any further damage by running the 400 final.
Hindered by that ankle, Trainor still managed to win the race, slipping by Sioux Falls Christian’s Mitchell Oostra.
1. Ty Trainor 50.08
2. Mitchell Oostra 50.29
Still not done, Trainor ran a leg on the STM, 4x400 squad that finished 2ndto SFC.
Inspiration comes from the unlikely and most likely sources
When Ty Trainor was a freshman at a meet in Pierre he watched as meet officials came up and said hello and shook hands with former Sturgis runner Jacob Simmons. At the time, Simmons was a senior, an accomplished runner soon to be headed to the University of South Dakota.
That small moment stuck with Trainor and gave him something to chase over the last three seasons.
“I told myself one day I wanted to be good enough so officials would come up and say hello to me,” Trainor said.
And then there was that guy, teammate Luke Julian. One year older than Trainor, Julian was the more accomplished runner and it drove Trainor to dig deep.
“I’m a pretty competitive guy and I hate to lose,” Trainor said. “Luke Julian pushed me my entire career and I’ve been trying to beat him my entire life.”
At this year’s Howard Wood Dakota Relays, Trainor participated in the Special Event, 800 meters. Coming into the meet the senior hadn’t broken the 2-minute barrier this season, BUT, as he crossed the line at Howard Wood, two years to the exact hundredth of a second, Ty Trainor tied Luke Julian’s school record in the 800 at 1:56.06.
“I guess if I couldn’t break Luke’s record I’m happy to share it with him,” Trainor said.
STM track team is one big Happy, Hard-working family
In case you did not notice, St. Thomas More won both the boys and girls Class A team titles at the recently concluded state track meet.
Relay after relay, podium after podium the Cavaliers hard work showed itself all over the track & field.
That said, the STM kids circled the wagons after one of their athletes, senior Kale Landguth struggled in the triple jump.
Langduth had the top jump coming into the meet (44’1.25”) but struggled in that event Friday jumping 41’7 and finishing out of the points with a 13thplace effort.
“One of our jumpers struggled and it just killed all of us,” Trainor said. “That just made us all want to perform better.”
As Trainor heads to his next level he looked back on the team that has meant everything over the last four years.
“I guess the only word to describe my teammates is family,” Trainor said. “We all care about each other, we want to make each other better and we push each other.”
Ty Trainor and Joe Rush (Custer)
Trainor and Joe Rush of Custer have been competing against one another for each of the last three years. While Trainor won a lot of those head-to-head matchups, Rush improved a ton his senior year and will now take his talents to South Dakota State University next fall.
Despite competing against one another, the pair developed a solid friendship built on mutual respect and appreciation for being quality people.
Shortly after winning the 800 meters, Trainor limped over to talk to his coach while the 3200 meters was going on. When Rush, the Custer senior held off Wisconsin bound, West Central’s Derick Peters to capture the two-mile crown, the limp disappeared.
Trainor sprinted across the field to give his buddy a hug!
“There are a lot of good runners in the state but Joe is the best runner/person you are ever going to meet,” Trainor said.
After winning the race, Rush shook the hands of every 3200-meter competitor in the field.
“Joe had a 30-second PR in the 3200 this year and I’m just so proud of him,” Trainor said. “SDSU is going to be a great fit for him.”
What lies ahead for Ty Trainor
After a summer of working outside, landscaping, Ty Trainor will head to the University of Mary. After a brilliant career at St. Thomas More, Trainor the freshman, will have to start all over.
“I’ve never told anyone this but I’m really nervous,” he said. “I’ve been the second runner on our team, first this year, and I really just want to go up there and be a contributor on the cross-country and track teams.”
There will be one more high-school run for Trainor as he and his More teammates qualified for the New Balance Nationals in the Medley relay. That event will take place in Greensboro North Carolina and STM distance coach Royce Wuertzer says with the pressure of state meets off, his South Dakota guys are going to go down loose and ready to run fast!