Justin Lucier was the top performer for the men’s side of the Bridgewater State University (BSU) cross country team in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Championships.
The junior finished the eight-kilometer race in 28:03 which was the eighth best time amongst all teams and the highest placewinner for the Bears.
Just a year ago, Lucier was a first-year runner on the team, finishing 20th overall in the MASCAC Championships and fifth amongst his fellow Bears.
“This season has been a huge step in the right direction for me,” said Lucier. “I’ve been looking forward to the conference championship meet for about four months so it feels good to have all my hard work pay off.”
Bridgewater finished third in MASCAC team standings, finishing behind only Westfield State University and MASCAC champions, Fitchburg State University.
Lucier attributes his successful 2015 campaign to being witness to runners on the team last year, such as Andy Sukeforth who reached the NCAA Cross Country Championships (one of 280 in the nation) for his 26:14 eight-kilometer run.
“This season I’ve been running 70-80 miles a week since about August, along with lifting in the weight room twice a week with the team, and going to the pool at least once a week to cross train,” said Lucier.
His work ethic is a lesson to the younger members of this year’s team. BSU’s cross country team is comprised of one senior and two juniors, compared to three sophomores and eight freshman.
Training is the most important part to being a successful runner. Lucier shared how he and his squad want to prepare for the end of the season.
“During the last couple weeks of the season, everyone on the team cuts down their mileage a little bit to be as close to 100% as possible for the championship meets,” said Lucier.
Members of the BSU cross country team will compete this Saturday Nov. 7 at the ECAC Division III Championships, before the all-important New England Division III championships coming the following Saturday Nov. 14.
The top seven members of the team will be resting for the latter of the two meets, a normal practice by cross country teams.
“I couldn’t ask for better teammates and coaches here at BSU. In just over a year, Coach Simoneau and Coach Smith have helped me become a better runner than I ever thought I could be,” said Lucier. “As long as I have them guiding me and my teammates there with me every day, I feel like the sky’s the limit.”
Brendan Coughlin is the Sports Editor for The Comment.