OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – For Owensboro seventh-grader King Combest, excelling on the track was preordained.
That’s because speed has always been engrained in the Combest family pedigree. His grandfather, Keith, won three state championships with Henderson County.
And his father, Casey, set 76 state and National records during his high school career at Owensboro High School. He won three national championships, and had 300 scholarship offers coming out of high school.
So when Casey had his first son, it wasn’t a matter of if he would follow in his footsteps, it was a matter of when.
“I was running track in Raleigh, North Carolina at the time, he was a baby,” Casey said. “So when we got in the elevator, he actually got down in the stance, and popped his butt up. I said ‘Oh man, we did the first start right there.’”
That was an 9-month-old King Combest. But the now-14-year-old Combest has come a long way since then. This year he ran the 60-meter dash in 7.40 seconds, which is good for the second-fastest time in U.S. history in his age group.
Combest has become a young prodigy, even racing against high schoolers on Apollo’s High School team. He trains five days a week, and does 1000 sit-ups every day.
“When I started doing track at 9 months old, I knew right then that I was going to do it,” King said. “Because I knew that God gave me the talent, and I’m just going to do it.”
That talent can take King a long way – and he’s hoping it will take him past some of his father’s records. Casey set the national 60-meter indoor record in 1999, which still stands to this day. But King thinks he can be the one to break it.
“I was thinking to myself, and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to break them.’ So I’m here, and I’m going to do it,” King said.
“He sees me, obviously I’m his dad, but he wants to outdo what I did,” Casey said. “And I learned that at an early age with him.”
A 7th-grader at Burns Middle School, King still has plenty of time to break records. But when it’s all said and done, it’s not about the records or the wins and losses.
It’s about the shared bond between father and son of doing what they love.
(This story was originally published on May 7, 2021)