Lucy-Speidel’s return makes a big impact for the Falcons

Lucy Sawyer

WOODSTOCK – Sawyer Lucy-Speidel had a decision to make during his freshman year of high school last year.

After moving to New York to live with his mother for the first half of last school year, Lucy-Speidel chose to return to Woodstock for the second semester at Central High School. His reason? He wanted the chance to compete alongside his older brother Tristan – who had stayed back in Woodstock with another brother, Morgan, to finish his senior year at Central – with the Falcons’ track and field team at least once before Tristan graduated and went off to college.

“Me and T, we’ve always trained together and run together but we never actually got to run a season competitively together,” Lucy-Speidel said Tuesday afternoon. “So I moved back down so I could run with him because, you know, I’d always wanted to because I just wanted to see how I would do with him. And we did really well, so moving back down, it was definitely good to run with him.”

Lucy-Speidel, whose twin brother Mason plays football at Central, remained in Woodstock for his sophomore year and suited up for the Falcons’ boys cross country team this fall. Central cross country coach Melissa Wright is certainly glad to have him back.

In last Thursday’s Conference 35 meet at Central’s home North Street course, Lucy-Speidel raced past the competition to win the conference crown, while simultaneously helping the Falcons’ boys run away with the team championship. His time of 16:31 is the sixth-fastest time recorded by a Central runner at the course, Wright said.

For his accomplishments, Lucy-Speidel has been named The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for Oct. 25-31.

“It was definitely good to win, to be at the top,” Lucy-Speidel said. “But I don’t know, I mean winning was definitely good for me but definitely it was better for us as a team. We’ve definitely been working hard and winning conference showed how hard we’ve worked and how good we are as a team.”

Lucy-Speidel was the third different runner to lead the Falcons in recent weeks. Fellow sophomore Thomas Gilmore was Central’s top runner for most of the regular season, and senior Wyatt Robinson led Central in a win at the Bull Run District meet back on Oct. 14.

In last week’s conference race, Robinson placed fifth and Gilmore was sixth, and those two were followed immediately by sophomore Gus Wightman (seventh) and junior Ivan Alvarado (eighth) to give Central a total of 27 points, 33 ahead of runner-up Clarke County.

“We’re a competitive team so having each other out there when we’re racing only helps us push each other more, then we get faster and do better,” Lucy-Speidel said.

The Conference 35 meet was easily his best performance of the 2015 season, Lucy-Speidel said, and marked his full return after he missed several meets due to injury.

The sophomore – who began the season as Central’s No. 2 runner – dealt with shin splints midway through the season, and Wright chose to sit Lucy-Speidel out of three meets as a precautionary measure to ensure he would be healthy enough to contribute for the Falcons in the postseason. Lucy-Speidel returned to action about four weeks ago, Wright said.

“When he first came back he was running mainly (at number) three for us and … between the Bull Run District (meet, also at the North Street course) and conference he made the significant jump. I think he ran 27 seconds faster from the one meet to the next,” Wright said.

“I think he just gradually keeps improving and he works hard. All these young men take it very serious, what they’re doing. They’ve had a goal in their minds since way before summer, I believe, in what they wanted to accomplish and they’ve worked hard for it.”

Lucy-Speidel and the rest of the Falcons’ cross country team – boys and girls – will compete in the Region 2A East meet today at Panorama Farms in Earlysville. Lucy-Speidel, who raced alongside many of his current teammates as part of Peter Muhlenberg Middle School’s cross country team, said he expects a tough challenge at the regional meet but also thinks that “we can do well.”

The top six teams from both the boys and girls races advance to the Group 2A state meet at Great Meadow, and Wright said it’s “absolutely” realistic for both of Central’s teams to advance past today’s race.

“There’s a few sophomores there in that class – (Lucy-Speidel) and Gus and Thomas – they’ve all been running together for a long time and their goal is to make it to states and to perform well,” Wright said. “We’ll see how good the other teams are. I think we’re pretty solid tomorrow. I don’t know how good Maggie Walker (High School) is. I think they’re pretty legit. But you never know, why not us tomorrow?”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com