Apr. 17—Adam Bouchard, in the latter stages of a star-studded track and field career at Kentucky Wesleyan College, has grown increasingly appreciative of what it has meant to him as a student-athlete and what it will mean to him for years to come.
"I've been able to create memories I will never forget," said Bouchard, who is now specializing in high jump only, following an early-season knee injury. "I've built relationships with people from many different states that I would have not otherwise been able to do.
"It's been rewarding to be part of the development of the KWC track and field program, which is striving to compete with the top level teams in the (Great Midwest Athletic Conference)."
A 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior, Bouchard's career-best collegiate mark in the high jump is 6 feet, 11 inches.
It doesn't take a genius to know what his goal will be down the stretch this spring.
"I want to be part of that 7-foot club, for sure," Bouchard said. "Not many people in the world can say they've high-jumped 7 feet — it's sort of like the 4-minute mile in that regard; not many people can say they've run the mile in under four minutes."
Originally, Bouchard — a 2017 graduate of Daviess County High School — played two seasons of football at KWC (quarterback and wide receiver) before deciding to put his full athletic focus on track and field. Prior to injuring his knee, Bouchard was also competing in the pole vault, 4x400 relay and long jump.
"The hardest part about that was practicing all the events," said Bouchard, who earned G-MAC Athlete of the Week honors in early April. "That, and the discipline of timing everything just right, so that I would not kill my body.
"Once I got out of football, though, I saw huge improvement in my performances on the track."
At Daviess County, Bouchard twice finished third in the KHSAA Class 3-A high jump, with a career prep best of 6 feet, 8 inches. He also was a three-year starting quarterback for the Panthers, throwing for 2,439 yards and 27 touchdowns his senior season.
"Football was the first sport I fell in love with," Bouchard recalled. "My two older sisters were cheerleaders, so I got immersed in the high school football scene at an early age — catching those red souvenir footballs they used to throw out at games. So, I wanted to be the high school quarterback, I wanted to be part of that Friday Night Lights scene, for sure.
"I didn't realize it then, of course, but I was living one of those moments in my life that I will never, ever forget. I can still picture it all — the image is just powerful and it will never go away. It's like I really was living the dream."
Bouchard and KWC have two more regular-season meets before competing in the G-MAC Outdoors Championships and the NCAA Division II Outdoors National Championships.
"I don't have much time left on the track at Kentucky Wesleyan," said Bouchard, who will earn an undergraduate degree from the school in exercise science. "I still have big goals, and I hope to be at my very best for our program here down the stretch."