When Alex Dukes was competing in the North Central Missouri Conference for Mexico under the watchful eye of Bulldogs distance running expert Buck Green, the sky was the limit and both single season and career records started falling one by one.
Dukes leaving Mexico was the end of an era because it left both the cross country and track and field program without that one, steady influence that could not only help in the scoring column, but also make everyone around him better. Those days are gone and the Bulldogs had no choice but to pick up the pieces and move on.
Fortunately for Columbia College Dukes graduation meant it would be getting a top-notch athlete and during this past school year, his first competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the former Bulldogs had it in him to take on two sports. As a member of the American Midwest Conference, Dukes college career began taking the cross country course with results that included placing 15th at the Bradley Intercollegiate prior to taking seventh in 26:47 at the AMC Championships.
Having participated in five cross country races as a freshman, Dukes also finished 17th by clocking in at 25:57 at the NAIA Mid-States Classic on his way to being named AMC Cross Country Freshman of the Year, as well as All-AMC.
Next came the Indoor Track and Field season. During that time Dukes highlights featured coming in seventh in the mile at the University of Central Missouri Relays. He then parlayed that performance into a second-place showing as part of the 4 x 800 Relay Team at the AMC Indoor Championships, where the current Cougar was also fourth in the mile at 4:34 and third in the 3000m with a time of 9:09 according to columbiacougars.com.
What all of this was building up to was the outdoor track and field season because that is where track and field legends are brought to the forefront of the sport and that's been true dating back to before the days of Jesse Owens. For Dukes, his results were quality building blocks for the future that included charting first place in the 10,000 relay in 32:04 and fifth in the 5,000 after posting a mark of 15:49 at the AMC Outdoor Championships. He also took 18th in the 5,000 in 15:23 at the Wichita State Classic.