Athlete of the Week: Jack Lorence

Cross country winner

Tuesday, September 14, 2021, TRIB-LIVE

Class: Senior

School: Fox Chapel

Sport: Cross country

Report card: Lorence placed first at the Gateway Invitational on Sept. 4, finishing 22 seconds ahead of the field. He helped the Foxes win the overall title. Lorence also was the male lead in the 2020 high school musical at Fox Chapel, “Legally Blonde, The Musical” playing the role of Emmett Forrest.

How did you feel about your performance at the Gateway Invitational?

Honestly, I felt great. It is a little tricky to navigate the first race back after not running cross country since October of last year. Being a senior, I had a lot of experience, so it all comes back to you, essentially. I had the goal to win it, and I was really motivated. I had a lot of great training over the summer, so I tried to leave it all on the course. I’ve been running the Gateway Invitational since middle school, so I was familiar with the course. It was one last ride, so I just tried to enjoy it.

What was it like to see the Fox Chapel boys and girls teams take home first overall at Gateway?

It was really exciting. That was our goal going in. We won the meet, and we won both boys and girls individually, as well. We have a really strong girls team. We have a really good sophomore and freshman class, so the future looks bright. We have a tight-knit pack and that goes for the guys team, as well. We have a good sophomore and freshman group there, as well. Our senior boys have been running together for six or seven years. We’ve been putting in mile after mile together in practice, and that’s built a really good camaraderie.

What got you interested in cross country?

I just remember I was always outdoors as a kid. I did a bunch of different sports, but for some reason I always wanted to run cross country. It was the first sport I chose in seventh grade. We would do those tests in elementary school like running the mile, and I was always fairly good at them. I have just been getting better and better at it ever since. It just became my thing to do, and that was good, because I liked it, too. It’s one of those sports that have a high reward for hard work, and that’s pretty cool.

Do you have any superstitions or pre-run routines?

I used to be fairly superstitious, but I’m not really anymore. I used to wear the same socks all the time, because they were working for me. Now I just have a routine I follow. I go to bed early the night before races and make sure I get proper rest and do the right things like hydration and nutrition. Even at practices, we have stretches and things we check off the list. Those are things that Coach (Tom) Mohl always says are in your control. I used to be so nervous before races as a freshman and sophomore, but now I’m much more relaxed.

What was it like performing in the school musical?

That was such a cool experience. One of the things I’m most proud about is being able to balance all of those things. The credit should go to Coach Mohl and Mr. Murray, our musical director. It’s also cool to see that there are a few younger runners on the team that are doing the musical, too. There would be times where I would have to miss a practice last year, because I had a very important rehearsal, but I would just go run the track in the dark to get my run in. It all comes down to balance and flexibility and knowing what is most important each day.

What’s more nerve-wracking performing on stage or those moments before running in a big race?

It’s really a similar feeling. I remember being in middle school when I was performing on stage and my heart would be pounding in my chest, and on the line as a freshman at WPIALs, my heart was also pounding in my chest. Now it’s more exhilarating to be on stage and have people watching you. You get so into character that you don’t really get nervous. You kind of enjoy it and do your best whether it be on stage or in a race. They are very different, but it you compare rehearsal or practice to a musical or a race they parallel, which I think is pretty cool.

What’s your favorite school subject?

Right now, I’m taking AP Biology and I love that. Choir, of course, I love, too, and I’ve been doing that for four years. I enjoy biology, because it covers so much and it’s so intriguing. You learn about everything from cells down to the molecular level all the way to ecosystems and it’s so interesting.

Do you have any college plans?

I’m still working that out. I’m leaning towards something STEM related and honestly looking to go pre-med. I’d like to something in the health industry and possibly become a physician. I’ve wanted to do that since I was younger and nothing has really changed since then. I know it’s a pretty lofty goal, but with my work ethic with running and theater and so on and so forth I believe that I can tackle it.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer