Interview by Abernathy Cochran intern and Gainesville High School senior Donangelo Marshall
Meet Luke Gaddis! He is a Cross Country runner and a senior at Chestatee High School. He is an FCA leader at school and is very involved at Lakewood Baptist Church. Luke has two siblings, Drew and Haley, and his parents are Andy and Christy Gaddis. He recently finished 8th at the Asics Invitational with a PR of 15:20, and he was the runner-up at the State cross-country meet last year (GHSA 4A).
We want to thank Luke for spending time with us recently and telling us more about his life and love of Hall County.
Question: What is your favorite thing about Chestatee High School?
Answer: “My favorite thing about Chestatee High School is the community and the body of support around us. Our AD, teachers, and the community all really support our program, and they want to see the best out of our school, so they are very helpful whenever we need them.”
Q: Why do you love the sport you do?
A: “I love cross-country because I love the mental and physical battle of it. I love going out every day and seeing how hard I can push myself and see if I’ll break beyond my limits and stepping on that line on race day. I love competing against people; I’m a very competitive person, and I love to test who’s mentally and physically stronger than other people.”
Q: When did you start running?
A: “I got into running in sixth grade, but at Chestatee, you can’t run cross-country in sixth grade, so instead, we had a sixth-grade running club. Starting seventh grade, I’ve run cross-country and track every year.”
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in Hall County?
A: “My favorite restaurant in Hall County has to be Wild Wing Cafe. They have some really good nachos and some really good burgers. I’m a simple guy; my to-go order is a bacon cheeseburger and some fries.
Q: Who’s your favorite Teacher or Coach, and why?
A: “I have two people because our Community Coach is not a teacher. His name is Wes Wessley. He’s been coaching me since sixth grade, he’s been a huge blessing, and I would be nowhere near the runner I am today without him. I owe it all to him. My favorite teacher at Chestatee High School is Dr. Britton Grier. He was my AP US History and AP Government, teacher. He’s just a fun guy and a guy who wants the best out of you and really supports us.
Q: Why do you love Hall County?
A: “I love Hall County because of the community, even between West Hall, Chestatee, North Hall, all the other schools in Hall County, there’s just a community of togetherness, and also a great sense of rivalry. The community is so connected, and they just want the best for each other, and they love competing against each other.”
Q: What is one lesson you have learned from your sport?
A: “One lesson I’ve learned from cross-country has to be perseverance. I’ve had ups and major downs, rough practices, rough workouts, and rough races. It really outweighs you mentally and physically, but perseverance and consistency in cross-country are so huge. Just keep training, keep your head down, work hard. That work always pays off and never goes in vain. Just persevering through hard times will always make you better.”
Q: What is your advice to younger athletes doing your sport?
A: “My advice to younger runners is it 100% consistency. The saying is true: hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. You have to be smart about your training because overtraining is one of the worst things you can do, but just be consistent. Just work hard, running more than any other sport. What you put in is what you’re going to get out. If you really love the sport, work hard, and be consistent with your training.”