HOOPER — Max Christensen is realizing his athletic dream.
Christensen, a 2017 Logan View graduate, was recently invited to walk on to the University of Nebraska track team.
“My freshman year when I joined the track team, I didn’t think too much about it,” the sprinter said. “But I remember watching TV and seeing all of these (NCAA) Division I track stars. My dream as a freshman was to go down to Lincoln to be a Husker and actually run for my state. Going into my sophomore and junior years, I realized it could be a goal of mine. I pursued it and now it has become a dream come true.”
The University of Nebraska at Kearney, Doane, Midland University and Morningside were among the schools that also expressed an interest in the Raiders’ standout.
After a fairly quiet first two seasons, Christensen matured into one of the top sprinters in the area.
“I never super committed myself as a freshman and sophomore,” he said. “My junior year, my commitment to the sport increased a lot. I worked a lot harder in practice and I blossomed as an athlete.”
He realized his dedication to track was evident in his first meet as a junior. He swept the 100 and 200 meters — a common pattern for his final two prep seasons.
“I didn’t expect it out of myself,” Christensen said. “The next thing I knew, I went undefeated in the whole regular season. I was (East Husker) conference champion and competed at state.”
The junior season, however, wasn’t without some disappointment. During the district track meet at North Bend, Christensen had a false start in the 100 meters and was disqualified.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I got out of my blocks and the (starter) told me I was done. I walked off and nothing but tears started flowing. I went back to camp, laid down and kept crying and crying.”
Logan View coach Joe Foust intervened and put the incident in perspective.
“Coach gave me a hug and told me that I was just battling adversity and that things will happen,” Christensen said. “I didn’t realize it because what had happened, but I had another race. I went to the 200 finals with tears still in my eyes and I got in the blocks.”
Christensen ran the race and qualified for the state meet. He finished third in the Class C 200 meters at Omaha Burke later that month.
While he was pleased to earn a state medal, he didn’t forget about the district heartbreak in the 100.
“I actually think that really made me drive myself more during my senior year to pursue my goal,” Christensen said. “I really wanted to get redemption. This year I went undefeated in the regular season, was the East Husker champ, district champ and then went to state. It was a very successful year.”
Christensen knew, though, that he was the sprinter everyone was looking to beat at each meet he attended.
“I got in my head that if I lost, people would be disappointed,” he said. “I told coach that and he said, ‘Max, if you don’t win, you have to understand that people will still love you.’ I took that to heart and I applied that to myself as a senior. I learned to deal with it.”
Christensen capped his prep career last month at Burke. He finished fourth in the Class C 100 meters in 11.1 and was the runner-up in the 200 in 22.1. Both races were won by Dylan Kautz of Norfolk Catholic.
“I think we were first and second by about 10 meters on everyone,” Christensen said about the 200. “I was pretty happy about that.”
Now the son of Kevin and Wendy Christensen will turn his attention to the Huskers.
“I just want to earn a spot on the team, represent the school well and don’t let anybody down,” Christensen said. “I just want to go out and do the very best that I can.”