St. Ann students Jack and Kate Lucas dazzle in first cross country season as they compete at nationals

Jack and Kate Lucas pose with their team trophies at the Cross Country Coaches National Championships in Evansville, Ind. (Contributed by Jean Lucas)
Jack and Kate Lucas pose with their team trophies at the Cross Country Coaches National Championships in Evansville, Ind. (Contributed by Jean Lucas)

Jack and Kate Lucas put their pants on like the rest of us, one leg at a time, except once their pants are on they win gold medals.

Jack, 12, and Kate, 9, won every single Catholic Youth Sports cross country race for St. Ann they ran leading up to nationals this fall and it was their first season in the sport.

Kate, who is in third grade, finished third out of 82 girls her age as she helped the Brocaw Blazers to a second place finish in the 9/10 age group. Jack, sixth grade, finished 14th out of 169 boys and his team won the 11/12 age group.

They ran farther, three kilometers (1.8 miles), and with more people than they ever had before.

“It was crowded and fast,” Jack said of Cross Country Coaches National Championships, which were held in Evansville, Ind. “If you made a mistake then your race was almost over because there were so many kids; you couldn’t recover.”

When Jack is mad the only prescription he needs its more running. He said he enjoys the sport because it gets his energy out when he’s bored.

“My first race wasn’t that good, but I improved over the time,” Jack said of his first season of cross country in which he ran a 6:26.79 mile.

In his remaining races, he was the only boy to run a sub-six minute mile.

This isn’t the first time Jack and Kate have competed at the national level. Jack ran the 400-meter dash at the Hershey’s Track & Field Games and the Junior Olympics. Kate competed at the Junior Olympics this summer in the 800-meter dash.

Her time was 2:50, which beat her previous best of 3:00, earned Kate a prize. For every second she shaved off, her mom Jean would reward Kate with an orange Fanta. Good thing that deal wasn’t in place at nationals or Kate would have earned herself 43 Fantas.

Kate said when she was younger she would look up to her brother and see what he would do, so she would follow. He plays soccer so she started to play. He track so she decided to take up the sport. But both went into cross country together

Kate said she was nervous at nationals.

“Our coach said if you’re not nervous it means you don’t care or you’re dead,” Kate said. “I really wanted to do well for this. My friends at school thought it was really cool.”

She said the start of the race reminded her of a battle field charge because there were so many girl. It helped the race was started by a canon instead of a gun, too.

One of her favorite races she ran, besides nationals, was the first time she ran the 800. Her track team, Hot Feet, was doing mini meets and the athletes could do any event.

“The first time I ran the 800, I ran with the boys and I got first,” Kate said. “I never ran it before. It’s funny because the whole race, I was in the fifth lane and I kept going in that lane the whole time around. My dad said you could cut in, but I thought that just meant in your lane. Then finally on the second lap I finally went to the first lane.”