Even if Mountlake Terrace senior Jaden Lofrese is in 20th place at the first-mile mark of a race, Hawks cross country coach Joel Pearson isn’t concerned. Pearson knows there’s a good chance Lofrese will be in the top five by the conclusion of the second mile.
“He’s incredibly calm,” Pearson said. “He can stick to a race plan, and generally he doesn’t care about what his competitors are doing as long as he’s following that plan, and that’s rare. His endurance is impressive. I think there’s seven or eight athletes that are capable of winning the (Class 2A) state championship, and he’s one of them.”
Lofrese will compete at the state meet Saturday in Pasco. He finished ninth at state last year.
The Herald spoke with Lofrese recently about his running career, future plans and more:
How did you get your start in competitive running?
I played a lot of soccer when I was younger; I started when I was 5. In middle school, some of my soccer friends joined the cross country team, so I joined the cross country team to be with them.
What do you love about running?
Even though racing against other people can get stressful, running is a good stress reliever. When you set a personal record, it feels a lot more (intense) than when you win a game (in a team sport). When all that work that you’ve put in comes together, a sense of excitement pops into you. I also love that I have teammates who push me (to be better) every day.
How have you improved as a runner?
I’m a lot more dedicated now. I feel that I can control myself (better), and I have a lot more discipline. I can work harder and do a lot more. Gaining more responsibility (as I’ve gotten older) has helped me.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to succeed in running?
I’m not normally one of the loudest kids, I’m usually quiet. But since I’m one of the faster (runners), I lead by example. It’s been hard to become a leader to help the team and be a positive influence. It’s one of the bigger challenges I’ve ever had. But I’ve been able to break out of my shell more. I’m talking to more people, understanding more people. If I didn’t become a team leader, I wouldn’t have talked to the freshman and sophomore runners this year. Now I’m good friends with them.
What are your post-graduation plans?
I’m not sure which college I’m going to yet, but wherever I go, I want to focus on academics first. Running would be a second priority.
What are you interested in studying?
I haven’t narrowed that down yet. I’m still debating what I want to do. Right now (I’d like to be) a doctor or pharmacist. For four years in a row I’ve taken some sort of biology class, and it’s really growing on me. They’ve been the most fun and interesting classes for me. I’d like to go into the health field and see what I can do there.
How would you describe your personality?
I’m more of a listener. I like to listen to conversations and try to understand all of what’s being said. I’m not too much of a talker.