Wheeling Park’s Justin LeVelle Looks To Finish Season Strong

Sprinter injured his hamstring during sophomore season

Photo by Kyle Lutz Wheeling Park’s Justin LeVelle kicks it in of the final leg during one of the relay events at the Dick Dei Track Classic.

WHEELING — Wheeling Park’s Justin LeVelle couldn’t have asked for a better way to end his freshman track campaign in 2016. On the 4×100 relay team with Richard Cummings, James Coles and Elijah Bell, Levelle was certain that he was part of a state championship relay team. With him being the first leg, a freshman and a trio of seniors were able to claim the gold by .04 seconds.

“It really was unreal,” LeVelle said. “The group of guys I was with just phenomenal. Deep down, I thought we were going to win it. I didn’t think there was any doubt. Heck, one is playing Division I college football. So, I didn’t think we weren’t going to be able to do it, it was really unreal to be honest.”

However, when it comes to athletics, where there is success, also can come adversity. For LeVelle, he experienced that at the first race of the year during his sophomore season in 2017. During the 100, at the Kim Nutter Invitational, he felt something in his leg that that no athlete would want to feel.

“It was the first meet, which was heart-wrenching,” LeVelle said. “As soon as I came across the finish line, I just felt something pop in my left hamstring. I knew it didn’t feel right. So I went to physical therapy for a couple of weeks.”

Despite his injury, LeVelle was able to compete in a couple of races through the weeks. He even qualified in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference meet. Unfortunately during the qualifications, Levelle heard the pop again and did not run for the rest of the season.

“It was very disappointing,” LeVelle said. “I was really looking forward to the year coming off my freshman year. It almost felt like all the hard work I put in was almost for nothing at that point. It really felt bad, but I knew I had two more years to look forward to, and that’s how I’m looking at it now as I have just as more chances to show what I can do.”

During his rehabilitation process, LeVelle went to Dr. Andrew Goldbaugh in Elm Grove.

Like LeVelle, Goldbaugh also went to Wheeling Park High School were he graduated in 2007 and was also an athlete.

“What I like about him is he was an athlete here and he knows exactly how I was feeling,” LeVelle said. “How sad I was that I couldn’t be out there running. He understood how I felt, which is what I needed at that time. To tell me that I was going to be OK and my hamstring wasn’t completely torn for the rest of my life. I also got a lot of rest.”

It was right around football season that LeVelle started to feel well enough to get back to the weight room and start training for the upcoming season on the gridiron. LeVelle played the entire football season without any setbacks and has been getting back at it on the track.

In his first meet back, LeVelle secured a fifth-place finish in the 100 meter dash, good enough for the podium at the Kim Nutter Invitational a on March 23. He was also the anchor of the winning 4×100 relay team with Jack Stakem, Logan Tucker and Nate Phillips.

The relay team also won the following week at the Bellaire Relays.

LeVelle claimed a victory in the 4×200 at the South Invitational with Stakem, Phillips and Devaughn McWhorter.

“It’s amazing honestly,” LeVelle said. “I love the competitive atmosphere. It’s really amazing to be back at it. The most important thing is to stay healthy. I like to do real well at OVACs this year and regionals and qualify for states. I hopefully want to break under 11 (seconds) in the 100. But we’ll see. I have to get my running form back to freshman year.”