Junior strives to beat coach’s cross-country record



Catherine Gagulashvili calendar manager
Described as number one by his coach, captain of the boys varsity cross-country team junior Aaron Selikovitz is attempting to beat Beverly alumnus, head varsity and assistant distance coach Mark Luevano’s mile time and 3,200-meter record.
With a mile time of 4 minutes, 49 seconds, Selikovitz is only 26 seconds short of beating Luevano’s top mark. He plans on getting under 4 minutes, 30 seconds, on the mile this year, and breaking 10 minutes on the 3,200-meter run.
“[Luevano] inspires me. He pushes me to break his own record. So that’s what I am going to do, that’s what I’m training for,” Selikovitz said.
The team practices by running long miles, anywhere from five to 13 miles a day, sprint workouts on the road and hill repeats. Luevano uses a tactic that forces Selikovitz to run faster.
“One of the things I do in many of the workouts, whether they’re on the track, we’re doing hill repeats or we’re doing long intervals on the street somewhere, is I will start him behind everyone else. I will give him a 10-second handicap, or if they’re long intervals, I might give him a two-minute handicap, which I want him to overcome in a 20-minute run,” Luevano said. “The reality for him right now is that nobody can stay with him and he needs to have something that pushes him [to catch up to the group.]”
Sophomore Veronica Valle, captain of the girls varsity team, comments that Selikovitz is “really fast” and when they ask him to slow down, “he kicks it up a notch.”
“I think he will [beat the record] because he’s one of the most motivated people. He knows that he can do anything he sets his mind to,” Valle said. “[He stands] out from the rest of the team [because] unlike others, he actually wants to work, he wants to get better. He does it because he loves running and he wants to do it in the future.”
Selikovitz hopes to go to UCSD, or even USC or UCLA, if he is admitted.
“I’m planning to run in college, so if I manage to break [Luevano’s] record, I will be going to a good private school. I haven’t received any offers yet. It’s still early, though; we are still in season,” Selikovitz said.
Luevano agrees that Selikovitz pushes himself harder to be the best he can be.
“I’m not trying to denigrate anyone else’s efforts…I think they all work hard. But he’s pushed himself harder than anyone else up to this point, which is why I think he has a shot at getting one or both of the records,” Luevano said.
Luevano thinks that no record should stand forever. He told the team at the start of the year that his record isn’t impossible to beat. He hopes that being Selikovitz’s coach in the flesh, rather than being a name on a record wall, will help motivate Selikovitz to beat the record.
“[My younger son’s] coach ran for Venice [High School] and when [my son] was a freshman, his coach said, ‘You’ll never run faster than I did,’ and he took that as a challenge,” Luevano said.  “His sophomore year, he ran faster than his coach ever did and he came up to his coach and said, ‘See, I told you I’d run faster than you.’ I want Aaron to feel the same way. I want him to come up to me and say, ’I will beat your record’ and I want him to come up to me and say, ‘See, I told you I would.’”
Setting aside his efforts to beat the 3,200 meter record, the sole reason Selikovitz runs on the cross-country team is because he truly enjoys running.
“Cross-country [has] made me more healthy; I feel better about myself. I feel a sense of importance on the team. I always loved running, but running on a team made me more competitive and more interested in being my best,” Selikovitz said. “Many [people] think running is an individual sport. But if you don’t have anyone to run with, if you don’t have motivation, then you can’t do anything. You can’t strive to be the best.”