Tompkins Weekly

Lansing cross country closes out strong regular season

Lansing’s Kathleen Sullivan (left) and Trent Thibault (right) have impressed as the top runners for their respective cross country teams this season. Photos by John Brehm

The Lansing cross country teams have consistently been towards the top of the pack. That trend has continued this season with Becca Lovenheim back at the helm.

Lovenheim, who has been the Bobcats’ head coach since 2016, sat out last year as Meghan McVey filled in for her. She was ecstatic to return and lead a pair of top-notch teams.

“It’s always wonderful to be able to come back to them,” Lovenheim said. “It was really hard to sit it out last year and I’m very grateful to Lansing for being so supportive of me personally, our student athletes and of course the families of our athletes and the community. The athletes themselves are just a really impressive bunch of humans, and so they worked hard. A goal of a coach is always to have a program be sustainable, even when you’re not right front and center, because it’s really not ever about us. It’s about the kids. And they did that last year, too.”

By Ryan Gineo

The Bobcats have shown no signs of slowing down, as both teams have won multiple meets. Despite some key losses due to graduation entering the season, Lovenheim is satisfied with where both teams are heading into the postseason.

“It’s been a strong season,” Lovenheim said. “I’m pleased with how the team is coming along. We knew that we were graduating a lot of strong runners, particularly on our boys side. But we also knew that there was still hunger amongst our returning athletes, so it’s been good to see them coming through. Our training is going as planned. Results have been as predicted thus far. Our goal is always to make sure that we are coming through peaking at the end. Fall is a long season, and I’m pleased with how the training is going and the results thus far.”

The girls team’s crowning achievement so far was the IAC North Division title. They’ve also won meets at Groton, Trumansburg, and at their new-look home course. Lovenheim credited their strong cohesiveness for their phenomenal regular season.

“Part of it is that we have a really tightly-knit group of committed athletes. Girls rosters tend to be a little bit on the lean side because there are just so many girls sports options in New York in the fall, so we are really proud of the fact that we’ve consistently had a scoring team. That means that they all have to really commit. These are a group of kids who are doing a lot of other things, as well. But they’ve set their priorities there. They’re dedicated to their teammates. They feel a real sense of pride and wanting to make sure that there’s a team score at the end of the day.”

Kathleen Sullivan and Evelyn Jackson have emerged as the top runners for the Bobcats. Sullivan has taken the mantle as the number-one in place of the graduated Kinsley Jacobs. The junior has embraced her role as a leader and has taken the freshman Jackson under her wing as one of the premier running duos in the area.

“I feel like every season that I’ve worked with her, she just gets stronger, both physically and mentally,” Lovenheim said. “It’s really exciting to see how much she embraces her teammates as a source of energy… They run side by side through all the workouts, through all of the races, and then they just duke it out to see who’s gonna finish first. That’s just an awesome role model for everyone. We talk a lot about how you can care about your teammates so much and want to see the very best in them because it also brings out the very best in you and your team, and Kathleen really embodies that.”

The boys team has also found success with consistent top-two finishes, including wins at their home meet and the Norwich Invitational. Leading the way is Trent Thibault, who burst onto the running scene last year as just a freshman. He continues to break countless school records, including setting the fastest time for a sophomore in program history at the Baldwinsville Invitational with a time of 16:17.3. That mark is also the second-fastest overall for Lansing.

“He is very dedicated to this sport,” Lovenheim said. “He is a student of the sport. He knows about all of the runners who have made waves in the past and are making waves right now. He’s curious about the science of training. He’s watching what’s going on right now, and he’s doing the work it takes to hopefully be a part of that for many years to come.”

The Bobcats will look to carry over their regular season success into the postseason, starting with the IAC Championships on October 25 at Marathon.

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