2017 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year: Lucy-Speidel finishes Central career with strong season

Central HIgh School's Mason Lucy-Speidel runs in the Bull Run District Cross Country Championships in Berryville in October. Lucy-Speidel finished seventh in the Class 2 state meet this season. Rich Cooley/Daily

HARRISONBURG – Mason Lucy-Speidel capped off his cross country career in style this season.

The Central senior led the Falcons to a third-place team finish at the Class 2 state meet. He also placed seventh individually at the Class 2 state meet, in his final high school cross country race.

“Overall, throughout postseason and onto states I’m really happy with how I did,” Lucy-Speidel said. “Finishing second in regions – I can’t complain about that. Getting top seven in states is a really good accomplishment. I’m pretty happy with that. Overall, it was a really good season for the team and for myself.”

Last year was Lucy-Speidel’s first year running cross country, and he said he came into this season feeling more comfortable and confident running for Central.

Lucy-Speidel, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2017 Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, said he finished with the fourth-best time in school history on Central’s home course and that meant a lot to him.

Lucy-Speidel said he and the team had some good regular season performances. Lucy-Speidel finished in the top 15 at the Albemarle Invitational, which he said was a goal that he had.

The team also had a perfect score, 15, in the Shenandoah County meet, the last regular season meet of the season. Usually the meet consists of just Strasburg and Stonewall Jackson. However, this season East Rockingham and Buffalo Gap were running in the meet.

The scores of East Rockingham and Buffalo Gap did not count toward the Shenandoah County meet, but Lucy-Speidel said having the two schools there pushed the Falcons even harder in the meet.

“I knew we were going to do well,” Lucy-Speidel said. “I figured we were going to have the other teams by a good bit, but I knew there was other decent runners from other schools. I think actually the competition from East Rock and Buffalo Gap pushed all our top five to get perfect scores. So we were really excited for that to happen.”

In the postseason Lucy-Speidel took things up a notch. He won the Bull Run District meet in a time of 16:47, finishing 14 seconds ahead of teammate Gus Wightman.

The following week he placed second in the Region 2B meet, behind Robert E. Lee’s Oliver Wilson-Cook. Lucy-Speidel said finishing second in the meet was one of the highlights of his season.

“I came up that final hill and I passed Gus (Wightman) and the other kid he was running with, it kind of hit me that wow I’m actually about to do this unless someone comes up on me in the final stretch,” Lucy-Speidel said. “But once I got past them I was like ‘I’m doing this and I really want this.’ And I was going to do everything I could to make sure I got it. And then getting across that finish line I was like ‘wow I pulled it off, I got second in the region.’ I was really proud of myself.”

A week later, Lucy-Speidel finished seventh in the Class 2 state meet with a time of 16:44. Lucy-Speidel said he did not finish as well as he would have liked last year, so he really wanted to make at least Top 7 this season.

“I had Nick Dawson from Clarke (County) running with me the entire time,’ Lucy-Speidel said. “He kept me on my toes, kept me on edge for most of the race. And then time I improved by, I think, 23 seconds. So when I saw that, after the fact, I was really happy with that too.”

Lucy-Speidel and his twin brother, Sawyer, along with Wightman were the three senior leaders on the Falcons this season.

Central coach Melissa Wright said that Mason Lucy-Speidel led by example and was a great role model for the younger runners on the team. She said Mason Lucy-Speidel also helped push the runners around him to be better.

“The first week of practice I overhead him saying, and its just indicative of my seniors, in saying ‘best effort always,'” Wright said. “And that’s what they wanted from themselves. They led by example. But he definitely wanted those around him to push harder and to achieve a little higher each time they got out and were running at a meet or in practice.”

Mason Lucy-Speidel and he and Sawyer Lucy-Speidel ran together throughout last summer to get ready for the upcoming season. He said their older brother, Tristan, who runs on the cross country team at Lynchburg College came up with a training plan for them.

Mason Lucy-Speidel said he’s considering running at Lynchburg College next season with Tristan, but hasn’t made a decision yet. He said he also considering going to Cornell University.

“I’ve already met a lot of the guys on the team. I’ve met the coach,” Mason Lucy-Speidel said of Lynchburg College. “They seem like a good group of guys down there.”

Mason Lucy-Speidel said it’s been very bittersweet knowing that this is his last year running in high school. Mason Lucy-Speidel said that he’s very happy with how he did in his last year of cross country.

“I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished in cross country,” Mason Lucy-Speidel said. “I gave it my best every time I went out there, and that’s all I can ask for myself.”