When the 4×800-meter relay team won the 6A-Central Conference championship for the Bryant Hornets last April, Jake Dreher had the first leg. With Josh Nelson, Hunter Ulmer and Logan Kretsch following, they combined on an 8:27.43 clocking.
“We have four runners,” Dreher said. “It’s just a matter of putting them in the right spots. I’m usually first leg, getting us good position. The next legs are keeping us in the good position then the last leg brings us in. It’s just knowing which times go where.
“We have to all want it,” he emphasized. “We all have to be in the right mindset for it.”
Teaming now with Ammon Henderson, Dreher, Ulmer and Kretsch will go for another conference title at the league meet set for April 25 in Little Rock.
“I’m hoping we can repeat that this year,” stated Bryant head coach Steve Oury. “Jake’s best event is the 800 and his personal record is 2:06.25, which I’m pretty sure he’s going to beat tomorrow (at a meet in Conway).
“No pressure,” he quipped to Dreher.
In the meantime, Jake Dreher, the son of Lynn and Brad Dreher, signed a letter of intent to continue his athletic and academic career at Dallas Baptist University next fall.
“The most important numbers I can share as far as Jake’s concerned are not athletic in nature,” said Hornets coach Steve Oury. “The number is 4.2, which is his GPA (grade point average). That’s amazing. And he’s just done a great job on the ACT test, just knocking it out of the park in the classroom. That’s extremely important.”
With those kinds of academic numbers, no doubt Dreher could attend just about any college he wanted. But he chose DBU.
“I went and stayed with a friend in Dallas last summer and her parents told me about DBU,” Dreher related. “I really fell in love with Dallas. So, I contacted the coaches and asked, ‘Hey, is there any chance I could run with you?’ They said, ‘Yeah, for sure.’ We kept in touch ever since and he told me a couple of months ago that he wanted me to run with them.
“He’s excited,” Dreher said of the DBU coach, Jacob Phillips. “Right now, my times need to get faster, but he thinks I can do it. I’m excited and I’m going to work hard for it.”
Regarding the 800-meter event, he added, “It’s definitely the hardest but it’s my favorite. It’s the most competitive, I feel like.
“I’ve done 400 for my other (club) track coach, Cedric Vaughn, and I’ve done the mile,” Dreher said. “He made me do the two-mile once too. That was enough of that.”
Originally, he ran cross country when he first started running in middle school.
“Eighth grade,” he mentioned. “In ninth grade, my eighth-grade coach talked me into doing track. She really wanted me to do it and I ended up loving track a lot more than cross country.”
Dreher has definitive plans for his education.
“I want to major in Biology and hopefully become a dentist, go to dental school,” he said.
Added Oury, “The best thing I can say about Jake is that he’s been the ultimate teammate. He’s been a positive influence on everyone. I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about him, even joking. He’s somebody that’s always been a positive teammate and influence on everyone around him.
“From my perspective as a coach, it made life really easy,” he added. “I’d be grateful for a whole team of Jakes. And a lot of that comes from his parents, his family.”