The slender, bespectacled high school boy with the youthful, innocent look of an underclassmen had a huge viola carrying case under his left arm, a giant text book and binder under his right arm. As he reached to open the door to Lawrence High’s west gymnasium Wednesday afternoon, he fumbled the book to the ground.
Where was the big, bad bully to kick the book and hurl an insult? Nowhere. Senior Roy Wedge does not get bullied. Revered? Yes. Bullied? Please.
Wedge might not look the part, but he is the most popular boy in the school, could be on the verge of becoming its most accomplished athlete and is among the brainiest students in the building. Did I mention he was voted Homecoming King?
LHS won the Sunflower League meet. Wedge was the individual champion and is a threat to become the state champ, a threat to lead his team to a second consecutive state title. He is to Lawrence High’s cross country and track teams what Albert Minnis is to the baseball team: The Man.
Mention his name on campus, and everybody lights up.
“I texted him once,” a girl on the cross country team boasted.
“Stud,” said Brad Stoll, coach of the reigning state champion baseball team. “Had him in camp when he was little. Pretty good little baseball player.”
Jack Hood, head track coach and assistant football coach, asked where Wedge could be found, said, “He’s somewhere being smart.”
Wedge is taking four Advanced Placement courses: BC calculus, AP physics, AP U.S. politics, AP literature and composition.
“I’ve already taken AB calculus,” Wedge explained.
Ever really wanted to ask a question but felt too ashamed? I’ve always wanted to know what calculus is and finally mustered the courage to ask. Well, it wasn’t really courageous. After all, it’s not as if Wedge was going to think me intelligent if I didn’t ask.
“Calculus is limits, derivatives and integration,” Wedge said.
Oh. I let him off the hook and didn’t ask him what he meant by limits, derivatives and integration. I did ask whether he prefers cross country or track.
“I do not like running around the track,” Wedge said. “I prefer cross country.”
“Being able to see the scenery and not running around in a circle eight times,” Wedge said.
Wedge took up cross country as a ninth-grader at the behest of his parents after he was cut by the soccer team. Not making a cut can devastate a young athlete. Not Wedge.
“I’m not that good at soccer,” he said. “I’m better at running.”
He knows enough about soccer to know why he wasn’t good at it.
“I didn’t have the ability to know what to do with the ball before it got to me,” Wedge said.
Saturday at 2:30 p.m., when the Oklahoma-Kansas game kicks off at Memorial Stadium and a half hour after the girls race begins, the gun sounds for Wedge, teammates and Free State’s runners to race in the regionals at Haskell Indian Nations University. Wedge will know what to do: Get to the finish line first.