The Lucas Lovejoy Leopards are not new to success. They have tasted success in the past and it now seems to be on cruise control. In fact, their level of success progression arrow is pointing up.
Last year, they returned to the top of the 5A boys team standings with a state title and this year was all about doing it again. Doing it again is exactly what they did on Saturday. Lovejoy added the 2017 UIL 5A state title to last year's making it back2back championship seasons.
The boys 5A race was one of the toughest divisions and fastest races at then entire meet. The race was won by Aledo sophomore Graydon Morris in a very fast 14:58. Morris led an impressive 24 athletes to run under 16 minutes. Included in that impressive group were three Lovejoy athletes: sophomores Brady Laboret (15:47.92) and William Muirhead (15:52.79) along with senior Bradley Davis(15:58.73).
This Lovejoy team has impressed all season long as their mission to defend their title has been evident since the first meet of the season. The Lovejoy hot running begin on day one of the season when they won the first meet, the Plano ISD XC Invitational. That is where Lovejoy ran for a 16:34 team average and a 45 second split. This weekend, the Leopards won the state meet with a 69 point total, but even more significant was the 29 second split and the 16:01 team average. When the fifth and final scorer Ryan Spruell crosses the line in 16:16 you just kind of have to give them their props because that is hard to beat.
The mission was started on day one and the championship win was executed on the day of the state meet, but the work in between shows just how established of a program this is. In between the first meet and the state meet, the Lovejoy kids went to work. Their ability to keep improving and stay consistent is remarkable. Lovejoy had improved their team average by a complete 33 seconds from the first meet to the state meet. Getting seven guys to run their best on the same day and the day that counts is the name of the game, but it is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Lovejoy did exactly that.
Consistency is also important and another area where Lovejoy showed it's value. As the team average progressed throughout the season, so did the 1-5 split improved, but not only did it get better, it was consistent. The split at the first meet was 45 seconds and 29 at state. The team average split for the season was 30.8.
|Meet||Team Average Time||Team Split||Year Average Split|
Since 2008, the Lucas Lovejoy program has been to the state meet every year. In that time, they have now won three state titles and have taken second place three other times. This kind of sustained success is attributed to more that just the awesome distance athletes.
So, how is it that a school in a small community that lies right next to one of the largest schools in the state can be so successful? The cross country and track and field program is what it is due to the supporters and the coaching staff.
The Lovejoy supporters whether it be parents, fans, students, or booster club follow and support this program like few others. A sea of red, white, and blue can be seen whenever the kids are competing.
Also, fortunately for the state of Texas, the coaching staff at Lucas Lovejoy is as ambitious and as big of supporters and developers of every event in track and field as there can be. This program goes beyond holding track meets every year. The coaches go far beyond that to promote track and field. Coach Greg Christensen and coach Logan Kelly are truly two of the masterminds in our sport. The part they play in moving the sports of cross country and track and field forward into the future is unbelievable.
Coach Christensen and coach Kelly are hosting meets left and right. Not only do they host full event schedule track meets, but they are hosting event specific meets. This season alone, they will host at least four track meets. Just around the corner, on December, 16, 2017 the 2nd Texas Express Holiday Invitational Indoor Pole Vault Meet will be held at the Lovejoy indoor facility.
On January 20, 2018 they will host the Lovejoy Texas Express Indoor Pole Vault & High Jump Meet also at their indoor facility. They will host their annual Lovejoy Track & Field Invitational on March 3, 2018 and then their last confirmed hosted meet on the season will be the Lovejoy Spring Distance Festival. Last season, they also hosted the TTFCA Meet of Champions.
They have also added a steeple chase clinic to go along with their event specific pole vault, high jump, shot put, and distance meets. On December, 9 2017 the Lovejoy All America Steeple Chase Clinic will be hosted at their facility.
With the tons of information sharing, clinics, and event specific and focuses there is no wonder the Lovejoy program has been as successful. It continues to grow and give back to the sport.
The spirit clearly bleeds into the kids of the program. Lovejoy senior and now two time state champ Bradley Davis himself has gotten in on things. This weekend, on Saturday November, 11th, he will put on the second annual Running Over Depression 5K & 1K Fun Run. This fundraiser and awareness event is another area that the Lovejoy team executes their championship mentality. Their success on the cross country course reaches far beyond their running ability, but it is evidence that they are using their success to affect their school and their community.