Over the past three decades, the East Lansing High School cross country program has developed a deep roster of talented distance runners, one that includes Erna Messenger, Tom Weiss, Eileen Fleck, Robbie Glew, Maddie Reeves, Jacob Stanton and Zoe Morse, to name just a few.
The latest addition to the list is ELi’s “Trojan of the Week,” graduating senior Andrew Lane, who worked his way to the top – he currently holds ELHS’s fastest 5,000 meter time, 15:27.1, set at the Saranac Invitational last August – by training and competing with one goal in mind.
“What motivates me to put on my running shoes and to train day after day is success,” Lane wrote in an email to ELi earlier this week. “I am super competitive in everything I do. I want to be the best and I will train until I get there.”
Much of that road work paid off last fall for Lane when he earned all-state honors by finishing 15th in the MHSAA Division 1 meet at Michigan International Speedway. Lane joined Stanton as the only two Trojan male runners to place among the top 30 finishers in Division 1 (Stanton placed 10th in 2014). For many years, East Lansing competed in Division 2, before moving up a level in 2011.
Long-time Trojan coach Pat Murray was confident that Lane would improve upon his 48th place finish at MIS in 2018.
“I could have predicted he would run such a great race from the way he had been training and competing throughout the season, even starting with his summer training,” Murray wrote in an email to ELi. “If the course hadn’t been so darn sloppy he would, for sure, have been in the top ten. His desire to run well at the state meet was palpable all season long. His experience at the meet as a junior really drove him from that moment on to his performance this past fall.”
Murray believes Lane’s “willingness to work harder than others toward long term goals” and his competitiveness in the midst of a race helped him achieve many of his goals.
“He is not the most gifted distance athlete I’ve coached but he may be the most competitive,” Murray said. “He is able to set long-term goals and stick with the extremely high level of work needed to reach those goals. That ability to commit to the effort both in training and in races is what I see as Andrew’s ‘edge’.”
Championship feeling never gets old
Lane started winning races in his elementary school physical education classes before officially becoming a member of the Trojan running program in seventh grade. From freshman year to senior, he cut nearly two and a half minutes off his best 5K time.
In doing so, he elevated himself to among the top distance runners in mid-Michigan. To get to that level, however, would require a steady climb.
“When I started my career as a Trojan, I was nowhere near the best in the area, and not even one of the best freshmen in the area,” Lane said. “Each year, though, I worked harder and harder to get better, and was able to see my hard work pay off.”
Winning the team title at the CAAC Blue meet at Ledge Meadows in October ranks at the top of his accomplishments.
“This year we were able to work hard as a team to keep each other accountable and keep each other motivated,” Lane said. “As a result of this we had one of our best teams in school history, winning many meets but most importantly winning the conference championship.”
Lane won individual top honors that day by covering the course in 15:53.9. He was one of four Trojans to finish in the top 10.
“We hadn’t won the conference in any of my previous three years on the team, so it was really special this year to hold up that trophy and see all the hard work pay off,” he added.
Lane, like many of his fellow Trojan athletes, was disappointed to lose his final spring season of competition to the pandemic. He had run well at two indoor meets in February, thanks in part to a productive winter training regimen.
Murray admires Lane’s devotion to workouts.
“He wanted to come to practice and be told what to do in the workout; he didn’t want to be asked what he felt like doing,” Murray said. “He was committed to our program. He looked forward to the traditional workouts we do season after season, and really enjoyed comparing himself in those workouts to himself in previous years and our historically great runners of the past. That belief in our system was one of his strongest attributes.”
Lane’s next steps this summer will lead to Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., for his freshman year in college.
“I took an official visit there in February and it seemed like the right fit for me,” Lane said. “The team was super cool, the coach is very knowledgeable about running, and it is a place I think I will be able to excel as an athlete and a student. The location is amazing and I can’t wait to start the next chapter of my life there.”