Categorized | Feature, Sports

Cross country record-holder returns as coach

Mikaela Rabizadeh social media editor

Flashback 45 years ago to the fall of the 1972 cross-country season.  Senior Mark Luevano speeds his way into the record books, breaking the fastest cross-country time in Beverly history.  To this day, Luevano holds his name at the top of the board, his record yet to be broken.  

Jump forward almost five decades later, and Luevano is back at his home track, only this time as a coach. Maintaining his record breaking title, he returns to mentor the 2017 cross-country team.

“Here I am back coaching, and it’s been 45 years and I still have my name on the record board,” he said.  “The idea that we are now two generations later of runners and I still could say I am the record holder at Beverly in several events, that’s meaningful to me.”

In terms of having his record broken, Luevano believes that each of his runners has the potential to do so, as long as they are motivated and willing to put in the work. He hopes that holding the record will give them incentive to push themselves as athletes.

“I think they all like the idea that I went here, and that I ran here, and that I hold records here. I would hope that maybe some of the freshmen and sophomores would, in the back of their minds, start thinking: I want to get his records,” he said.

Junior Charlene Kay finds comfort in the fact that she can relate to her coach.  With a mentor that not only ran for her school, but broke multiple records, she doesn’t see his achievements as untouchable as she once did.

“Knowing that our coach holds the record for Beverly is comforting because we are hearing advice from someone who has experience as a runner at this age. It’s encouraging that he was in the same situation as we are in right now and we have the potential to achieve what he has,” she said.

Luevano applies his own experiences as a student-athlete to his coaching methods. Having been in their shoes, he knows what it takes to see improvement.  He strives to push his runners, while still giving them a recovery day from time to time.

“My coach was more of a sprinter; he actually was a high school sprinter. I don’t think he knew distance running from the standpoint of having done it and knowing what it feels like to train hard in distances,” Luevano explained. “I, having run distances for a long time, know what people are going through during workouts: knowing when they’re tired, knowing when their form is getting bad, knowing when I should give them an easy day because you can just tell from watching people that they’ve reached the limit and maybe tomorrow should be a day off.”

From running in high school to coaching cross-country today, running plays an instrumental role in his life. Not only has it become a passion of his, but a passion that he passed on to his sons as well.

“I happen to think that running compliments going to school. You get to get rid of the stresses of daily life,” Luevano said. “This is true for all sports, but for me, it’s running.  You can go out there and get rid of all of that pressure that you’ve got from going to school, from working, from relationships, from everything. You can just go out there and be free.”

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