Bass Leaving Legacy for Eagles Track Program

Bass Leaving Legacy for Eagles Track Program

Just days after putting a bow on his highly successful high school athletic career, Wayne Christian senior Caleb Bass had already turned his focus to what lies ahead.

If you dive a little deeper into Bass’ story, it’s easy to see perhaps one of his greatest strengths is his ability to quickly move on.

Bass recently cemented his legacy at Wayne Christian by finishing first in the shot put, discus, and long jump at the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state championships held at Gaston Christian School in Gastonia.

Wayne Christian junior Kailah Taylor also won a state championship this season in shot put with a throw of 30’1.75.

A basketball, football, and track athlete for the Eagles, a torn meniscus in his right knee caused Bass to miss his entire senior football season.

The pain of being relegated to the role of spectator as Wayne Christian fell 38-32 to Rocky Mount Academy in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 8-man state championship could have easily discouraged Bass. 

Bass instead chose to use the disappointment of the Eagles’ loss in the state finals as motivation to fuel what proved to be one of the most fruitful individual track seasons in school history.

“It was kind of tough, I missed (playing football) a lot,” Bass said. “I got to go out there and watch, but not being able to play with my teammates, and with it being my last year, it was kind of sad. I kind of felt like I was worthless to the team. Watching them (lose) in the state championship, and just knowing I could have helped, it hurt. Just being able to have the opportunity to compete in (track) and not just sit on the sideline, and knowing I am healthy again, and giving it my all, and knowing that you never know when you’re not going to be able to do something. Being able to pour my whole self into that meant a lot.”

Despite not starting his track career until his sophomore season, Bass won a state championship in shot put as a junior. He followed up that in his final state championship appearance by turning in personal records in the shot put (49-09.25), long jump (22-08.75), and discus (143-08.00).

This season was Bass’ first year competing in the discus.

“I can’t take much credit,” said Wayne Christian track coach T.A. Brown. “The thing about Caleb, they’re good, faithful people, I think he inherited that by his training and his work ethic. When he goes into something, he doesn’t go into 50 or 60 percent, he goes at like 110 percent. For this year in the discus, we set goals, and they were pretty high goals. He had to push himself to get to those goals.”

Bass has committed to continue his track career at the University of Mount Olive. He plans to major in Exercise Science with a minor in business.

Former Wayne Christian track coach Dale Miller, who has ties to the University of Mount Olive, helped in the recruiting process with Bass.

“A lot of it has to do with one of my friends from school she knows the throwing coach because he goes to her church sometimes, and she said something to him,” Bass said. “He ended up getting in contact with me, and then also Coach Miller, he was the previous track coach here, he ended up going and driving buses at Mount Olive, he knew of my throwing, and he mentioned me to the coaching staff.”

While Bass’ athletic career at Wayne Christian has concluded, the example he has set for younger athletes will live on for years to come.

“We have kids that are right there on the cusp of being really, really good to being great,” Wayne Christian track coach Brandon Griffin said. “Caleb has set the bar high, but we have seeds planted, to where they have seen Caleb competing and they know what it takes to get there. A lot of these kids are eighth and ninth graders and they want to be that great.”

Never one to shy away from audacious goals, Bass has lofty aspirations for himself once he’s completed his college career. If all goes according to his plan, Bass hopes to someday represent his country in the Olympics.

“Caleb is definitely potentially Olympic material because of his work ethic and his abilities,” Brown said. “When we hear that as coaches, it’s not a shock to me that he would want to go to the Olympics. Not only do we see his greatness but his teammates see it. He can use his talent and his skill to glorify to God even more when he goes to the Olympics because he’ll be on an even larger platform. As long as he’s doing it for the Lord, he’s going to be very successful.”