Lake Highlands’ David Brummel is a talented runner who relies on pacing and consistency to reach the top of the District 11-5A honor roll in track. But off the oval, his life has been less predictable, at least geographically.

Brummel’s father, Lee, is a minister who was a missionary in Buenos Aries, Argentina, when David was born 18 years ago. For years, the youngest of three sons concentrated on soccer, South America’s most revered sport, and spoke primarily Spanish.

With David’s two older brothers already in college, the Brummel family eventually packed up and headed to Fort Worth. After a year there, they moved north to Sikeston, a small town in rural Missouri.

It was there, with no organized soccer program available, that Brummel decided to give the one-mile run a try. It’s a race he’ll never forget.

“The first mile I ever ran in competition was a 5:41, and I finished second,” says Brummel, reminiscing at his family’s Lake Highlands home.

“But what I can remember most vividly was starting out too fast and absolutely dying at the finish line. I learned a lot that day about pacing myself.”

Brummel soon became hooked on track, and his wiry build was ideally suited to the rigors of distance running. In his junior year, he posted personal bests of 4:41 in the mile, 10:04 in the 2-mile, and 16:17 in the 3-mile. He qualified for the Missouri state meet, but didn’t perform up to his expectations. This gave him added incentive to work even harder during his senior season.

Just before his junior year ended, David’s father received a job opportunity in the Lake Highlands area. Moving before senior year can be a difficult transition, but Brummel has adjusted well to his new surroundings.

“It was definitely a surprise,” Brummel says about the move. “I had pictured my senior year in Missouri, so it took a while to get adjusted to a new school – and a much bigger school, too. I also found out pretty quickly that the running competition in Texas is a little tougher.”

A breakthrough moment for Brummel was his selection as one of the team’s three captains by fellow members.

“That really meant a lot to me,” he says. “It was quite an honor.”

Brummel went on to have a stellar cross-country campaign for the Wildcats. He clocked a season-best 3-mile time of 16:00 and placed eighth in the highly competitive district meet.

If there is a weakness in the Brummel track attack, it’s the lack of a legitimate kick, that burst of speed on the last lap. His running style is predicated on consistency and building a lead going into the final stages of the race. To his and his coaches’ credit, Brummel realizes his limitations and compensates the old-fashioned way – with hard work.

“David’s a winner,” says Lake Highlands track coach Buzz Andrews.

“You just can’t run him enough; he always wants to run more. For his teammates to elect him captain after he just moved here really says a lot about him.”

As this track season builds to a climax, the laid-back runner has season bests of 4:37.2 in the mile and 9:47.7 in the 2-mile, ranking in the district’s top three in each event. Last Thanksgiving, Brummel also placed 34th out of 15,000 runners in the Turkey Trot, an 8-mile road race held at City Hall.

Off the track, Brummel mixes the old with the new. His favorite musical groups are Metallica and the Beatles, and he also hits the books hard enough to maintain a healthy 85.9 (out of 100) grade-point average.

He aspires to run on the collegiate level for schools such as Transylvania University in Kentucky or Earl Ham College in Indiana. Closer-to-home possibilities are Texas Christian University or Baylor.

Brummel plans a career in medicine or science. The precedent in science runs through the family; his older brothers have chosen careers in chemistry and biology. His favorite subject is chemistry, and he openly admits that English bores him sometimes.

“A little Shakespeare goes a long way for me,” he says.

Running, however, is another matter entirely. It’s a passion Brummel says he’ll never outgrow.

“Running relaxes me; I feel calm after I run,” he says. “If I ever get stressed-out, I just lace up the shoes and run until I start to feel better. I can’t imagine ever burning out on it.”