Before Lukas Verzbicas, the fifth high school runner to break the 4:00 minute mile and two-time Footlocker Cross Country National Champion, was wheeled into surgery after a horrific bike crash late last summer, his parents were told that there was a good chance he would never walk again. Lukas came in studio to go through his early days of running and triathlon, his accident, his comeback and his plans for 2013 and beyond.
Five members of the top rated La Costa Canyon girls cross country team -Kelly Lawson, Emma and Ellie Abrahamson, Rebekah Bosler and Shanoah Souza- came in studio with Huddle and me to chat about cross country, track, the bench press, their toughest workout ever, water polo, and even the steeplechase. The one senior on the team, Shanoah Souza, daughter of duathlon legend Kenny, was VERY excited-NOT-that we had copies of old Competitor Magazines showcasing her dad racing in lime green Speedos on the cover.
Adam Goucher won the 1993 Footlocker National High School Championship, the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championship and made the 5,000 meter finals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. But for a big part of his career since then, Adam has struggled with injuries and in the past few years he really started to question his love for the sport. He is now healthy and happy, and next weekend at the Rock ’n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, he is hoping to run sub-65 minutes and qualify for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston.
Back in 1990 Lance Armstrong left the sport of triathlon to focus on cycling and became the most important athlete in his sport. In a little bit of a Déjà vu 21 years later, Lukas Verzbicas burst onto the junior scene as a triathlete, but it’s his running skills that make him really special. He has not only won the prestigious Footlocker National Cross Country Championship back to back in 2009 and 2010, he also became the fifth high school runner to break the four minute mile (3:59.71), took five seconds off the high school record for the two mile (8:29) and is enrolled at the University of Oregon to follow in the hallowed spike marks of Steve Prefontaine and Alberto Salazar.
Lukas Verzbicas is a very special young man. He won the Footlocker Cross Country Championship as a sophomore and he broke the high school indoor record for 5,000 meters with a 14:18.42. But the best part? The 17 year old is actually a better triathlete than runner. The last time we had someone this special come into the multisport world, he was a 20-year old triathlete and cyclist by the name of Lance Armstrong.