Valley View graduate Cale Kassen has a bright future ahead of him. After racking up three gold medals at the 2018 state track meet, Kassen added to his bounty with three more golds and one bronze.

But as great a collection of moments as those have been for Kassen, it’s time to turn the page.

Kassen is set to run track for Texas Tech University and he knows that in order for him to assert himself the way he wants, he has to ramp up his workouts.

Thankfully for Kassen, the Texas Tech coaches gave him some guidelines for new workouts; however, it was a bit of an eye-opening experience for him.

“I was like, this is gonna be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Kassen said. “I’ve been doing this for several weeks and this is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s really tough. It’s a lot more explosive stuff. And it’s not as laid back. It’s quick. There’s no downtime. You’ve got maybe a minute between every station and get a drink of water, and then back to work.”

Kassen is used to working out with his football or track team, but his summer workouts have forced him to push himself even harder.

“I’ve been kind of working out by myself at times this year, but there isn’t anybody else in here to work with and I get distracted easily,” Kassen said. “So I tend to put the music up loud and just work out.”

Kassen said he knew he had to ratchet up his workouts and originally tried to find some workouts of his own.

“I just kind of found some online just to kind of get more explosive with jumping and getting more explosive out of blocks and stuff like that,” Kassen said. “I was looking at those kind of workouts, but then Tech sent me its workout and it was a lot more detailed.”

It wasn’t all roses for Kassen during his final high school season. Kassen fractured his right ankle and then sprained his left ankle during basketball season, but that didn’t keep him from coming back for the end of the season or keep him from defending his gold medals.

Kassen is still rehabilitating those ankles back to full health.

“I was worried about basketball at the time, but I was more worried about track season,” Kassen said. “I started kind of getting worried about how this affects my senior year. In track, a lot of people, when they get signed by colleges by their senior year, they usually think they’ve arrived, but I wasn’t wanting to do that. I was wanting to work harder, but whenever I hurt my ankle, I thought it was a really big setback for me. And I overcame it, but it wasn’t the best year I had. I just had fun this year.”

As Kassen transitions to Division I athletics, he said he has a few benchmarks he wants to achieve.

“I really want to try to get back into shape for the 100 meters,” Kassen said. “I’m not that fast, but I need to get back into working on hurdles. The hurdles are at 42 inches now, so that’s really a big change from 39 inches.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip