At the boys state track and field meet in Charleston on May 31, The 17-year-old won the title in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in Class 2A record-setting time (37.34). He also finished third in the 110 high hurdles and ran the opening legs for both Burlington Central's third-place, school record-setting 1,600-meter relay and its fourth-place 400-meter relay.
The junior's performance helped the Rockets earn 30 of their 38 team points and a third-place trophy, their best finish since a runner-up finish in Class A in 2001, for which Lucas Ege has been named 2014 Daily Herald Male Athlete of the Year in the Fox Valley.
Ege enjoyed the kind of season other track athletes dream of, but color him somewhat unimpressed. Had it not been for a misstep early in the 110 hurdles race, he might have been a double state champ. The third-place finish at EIU's O'Brien Stadium marked his lone defeat in either hurdling event all season.
"Everyone keeps telling me how great the season was and I understand, but I'm looking forward to next year," Ege said this week. "I want more than one record, I want more than one state championship. I've got to keep moving forward. There is more to accomplish."
The brand of determination that drives Ege to set records and win state titles doesn't end on track. The son of Hampshire residents Raimund and Jacqueline Ege is driven in the classroom, too. He holds a 4.2 cumulative grade-point average and scored 35 on the ACT.
His combination of talent and intelligence has college track coaches drooling from the Ivy League to to the Pac-12. The first recruitment letter he received came from Harvard in the middle of his junior year. The local postal worker has stayed busy since.
Ege said he plans to narrow his list to nine or 10 before school resumes in August and hopes to make his college choice shortly after his 18th birthday in September. It's a good position to be in, according to his coach.
"He has a ticket a lot of people would love to have and he can use that ticket any way he wants," Central coach Mike Schmidt said.
"I'm open to other things, but I've had a dream of going to one of the top schools like Harvard, Princeton, Cornell or Stanford," Ege said. "It's nice to know I have options, but there's a lot of pressure that I make a good choice."
The senior-to-be is resting a mild hamstring issue in the wake of his successful season, but he intends to resume training this summer and continue through the fall and winter. A goal is to add more muscles mass to his 6-foot-2 frame before his final high school indoor track season begins late next winter.
Not only is Ege aiming to double as outdoor state champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles, he hopes to break the Illinois all-class record of 36.77 in the 300 and challenge the national high school record of 35.02.
"He is driven by goals and records," Schmidt said. "There are some things he wants to do before he's finished high school and he believes he has some unfinished business."
State titles are nice, Ege says, but having his name in a national record book would hold more meaning.
"You can win state, do whatever and get all these accomplishments, but if you don't have records people forget about you," Ege said. "No one remembers who won the state title even last year, but records are written down and everyone knows and remembers. I think that's important."