It was a seemingly innocuous conversation between a high school teacher and a student. But when Whiteland Community High School cross-country standout Gabe O’Keefe recently signed his national letter of intent to compete at NCAA Division I Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, it was a prominent memory.
O’Keefe, his parents Steve and Deb, and Whiteland cross-country and track coach Brandon Bangel each remember how the athlete’s odyssey toward competitive success began.
“I had him as a freshman in health class and he had just moved to the area from Ohio,” Bangel recalled. “He wasn’t running cross-country because we had already started, but I noticed he had a shirt on for a 5K race.”