Bradford runs track and plays baseball for the Blue Devils
Falkville’s Blake Bradford already has numerous team and individual state championships under his belt, and he’s not finished yet.
Bradford is a distance runner and a go-to pitcher for the Blue Devils.
He picked up baseball as a young T-ball player and added distance running when he started cross-country and track in the ninth grade. He’s been juggling both throughout his high school career and has decided to play basketball next season for the first time since ninth grade.
“I stay pretty busy, but I couldn’t imagine my life without sports,” Bradford said. “Even during the summer I spend about four hours or more practicing and training for the upcoming seasons.”
Bradford has had to make some tough decisions throughout the years of playing both.
Just last month he had the state track meet and the third round of the state playoffs in the same day. Luckily, he was able to run in the meet and receive his medals in Cullman before heading back to Falkville to catch the second game of their doubleheader against Mars Hill.
“The state track meet was on the same day as our second round of playoffs my tenth grade year, too,” Bradford said. “I had to choose one, so I went to the track meet, and we ended up winning the state championship. This year they let me try to do both, so I was able to make it in time to pitch the second game.”
Bradford is this year’s 2A state champion in the boys 800-meter run and 4×800-meter relay. He also placed third in the one-mile run and eighth in the 400-meter open. The Falkville boys track team has won three state championships in a row, including two 1A championships and last season’s 2A championship.
Track head coach Jace Wilemon said Bradford has been an asset to his team.
“He’s one of our all-around good team players,” Wilemon said. “He’s a strong runner even though he splits his time between track and baseball. He’s responsible and athletic enough to train on his own when he can’t make it to track practice. When he would be late to practice, he would always catch up, so we never really had a problem with him doing both sports. He’s definitely special.”
Wilemon said he sees good things in Bradford’s senior year next season.
“As long as he stays healthy, I think he can duplicate his success from last season,” Wilemon said. “I know he has the ability to get even faster, he just has to peak at the right time. He’s a tough individual.”
Bradford hopes to continue his favorite sports in college.
“I’d like to continue playing both if I can,” Bradford said. “I hope to play at either Montevallo or Middle Tennessee.”
With his rigorous schedule, Bradford said he learned how to focus on his grades and make time for schoolwork.
Sports is not a hobby shared by Bradford’s entire family, but he and his brother can be seen practicing, training and running to stay in shape every day of the week this summer.
Bradford’s twin brother Brian will also be playing basketball at Falkville this year and is a returning member of the track team.