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The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The Rise of LHS Cross Country

Ludlow runners are dominating Western Mass
Cross+Country+runners+and+coaches+pose+in+front+of+the+LHS+lion.
Cross Country runners and coaches pose in front of the LHS lion.

Teams across Western Massachusetts are shaking in fear of a rising power: Ludlow Cross Country. The Ludlow High School Cross Country Team dominated Western Mass this season with their first-place victory by more than 40 points. 

Making leaps and bounds in improvement, the team’s runners continue to surprise anyone and everyone who underestimate their speed and depth. But how did the team accomplish this victory? How did they go from not even placing in the top five to winning it all? Where did these huge jumps in performances come from? According to their coaches Brian Walsh and Rebecca Gauvin it was a long process involving hard work and dedication.

Coach Gauvin and Coach Walsh hold the team’s state runner up award.

Training

Walsh said this year’s team really put in the work when it came to summer miles. Four athletes on the team ran over 300 miles and every varsity athlete ran at least 100 miles that summer.

 “At the end of the day, what does it take to be a good runner?” Walsh paused for a minute and then answered his own question: “Run.”

In addition to the mileage, the team remained consistent with supplemental workouts and other methods of training, keeping their bodies fresh. The team also implemented many bodyweight exercises such as lunges, body squats, broad jumps, and push-ups. 

“We did lifting twice a week during the summer lifting program,” said Logan Walsh when asked about summer preparation.

The team’s head coach Rebbeca Gauvin mentioned that the additional “little things” (Ex: core, hip, and recovery exercises) made the athletes extremely “versatile.” Almost every athlete runs, but the LHS cross country team runs, does hip mobility, then core, followed by weight room, then maybe a stretch… 

“All the little things add up and give the runners at LHS a solid foundation while avoiding injury,” she said.

Furthermore, the training was backed by consistency. A single nine-hour training session will not be nearly as effective as multiple 20-minute sessions over the course of a month. The team showed consistency in their day to day training while keeping their goals in mind. Goals that could only be achieved through focus and discipline.

Drive

One of the key strengths of a strong runner is a strong mind. 

“It’s all Mental [when it comes to running]” says coach Walsh, and the team this year certainly had a mentality.

The shift started when the team began to get serious. As the athletes began to develop mental discipline their bodies also became disciplined as a byproduct, allowing them to train harder for success. The mind strengthens the body and the body the mind, and this cycle prompts huge exponential growth. As the athlete’s confidence grew, their performances got better.

The team had one major goal that year—win Western Mass. With such focus and drive it seemed the team was unstoppable. As race day approached the team confidently pulled back on their training and rested their bodies. A common mistake among individual athletes is to train harder up to a big competition. This normally happens because of the doubt in an athlete’s mind that they did not put enough work into the season. This doubt was far from the minds of the Ludlow athletes. The training was put into place and their minds were at ease, all they had to do was execute. The arrow had been carefully aimed and launched. All that was left was letting that arrow hit the bullseye.

The Makeup of a Team

Another key factor to the team’s success was the strong friendships they had. Kyle Martin, the team’s only senior and a valuable member of the varsity line-up, describes the importance of “a group of cohesive friends.” The team kept each other consistent and the company made the sport all the more enjoyable.

The athletes also had additional motivation when it came to succeeding: many of the athletes goals were team-based. Coach Gauvin describes this drive as “working hard for each other.” 

There is no I in team when it comes to LHS Cross country. When not training the team would regularly hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Eli Lipson particularly mentioned that the team had a huge sleepover before their North Carolina trip. The team ate buffalo wings, entertained Mortal Kombat, and played basketball, ping pong, and football that night. 

“The Team bonding activities made the night really fun,” Freshman Tyler Tatro told me.

It didn’t matter what the team was doing, it was the company that made the night fun. The teammates’ bond of friendship gave them a strong backbone for their performances.

A kind of bond like this helped give the athletes the extra push they needed. When a man comes to the end of himself (A common occurrence during a 5k), he needs to dig deeper and push the human body. The friendships the team had, gave them that extra push.

Personally, during my best races I wasn’t thinking of myself. When I felt I couldn’t go on, my team was there to support me and help me grow.

One of my favorite races was the twilight race when my teammate Nate St. Cyr gave me some encouragement. I became very tired during the second mile and began to believe I had gone out too fast. Then I ran by my Junior teammate Nate who simply said, “You can win it Joe!” Such encouragement may seem simple, but that day it gave me a power I didn’t know I had. I felt as if I could run forever and that nothing could stop me.

Success

The structure and foundation of the team led to an extremely successful season. The team achieved their goal of winning Western mass by “more than 40 points,” said Junior Eli Lipson. They even had 6/7 varsity athletes place in the top 16 runners ( Eli Lipson, Lucas Franco, Logan Walsh, Kyle Martin, Joseph Keroack, and Tyler Tatro). The team then went on to become state runner ups with two athletes winning medal positions (Joseph Keroack 3rd, Logan Walsh 15th). 

With a roster this stacked, it’s hard to believe that LHS cross country is only losing one senior this year. As spring track winds down and the 2024 school year comes to a close, coaches and rival athletes alike are wondering: what will the team accomplish next year? While this question will remain unanswered for a time, Massachusetts cross-country runners should be ready for the fall season, because Ludlow will be. 

The lions will be ready… and they’ll be hungrier than ever.

View Comments (8)

Comments (8)

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  • L

    Logan WalshJun 5, 2024 at 12:32 pm

    We winning states next year!!!

    Reply
  • T

    Terry LeeJun 4, 2024 at 6:08 pm

    I applaud efforts of team and coaches. Also, the parents and AD who support hard work

    Reply
  • L

    Lucas FrancoJun 4, 2024 at 11:24 am

    Nice work, Joe! 😎🏃‍♂️

    Reply
  • L

    Lucas FranckJun 4, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Nice work, Joe! 🙌🏃‍♂️

    Reply
  • D

    David KeroackJun 4, 2024 at 10:33 am

    Looking Forward to the next XC season!!

    Reply
  • K

    Kyle RodriguesJun 4, 2024 at 10:16 am

    Great job Joe this article was really well written.

    Reply
  • L

    Lucas CostaJun 4, 2024 at 10:13 am

    Good job Joe this was really well written!

    Reply
  • A

    Anabella CastroJun 4, 2024 at 10:09 am

    Slay.🏃

    Reply