Guerra after taking 2nd at the 2019 State XC Meet
Over the last several years, Lucas Guerra of Highland High School in Northwest Indiana has gone from almost an unknown name to being near the top of conversations to be a champion. He currently holds PR's of 4:17, 9:23, and 15:31. His junior campaign may have ended early, but Guerra continues to put down the miles day in and day out. We caught up with Guerra to ask him a few questions.
MileSplit Indiana: Let's start off with where everything began, when did you first start running and when did you realize you could run at an elite level?
Lucas Guerra: When I first began running I had no idea that I could get to the point that I'm at now. During my freshman year, I was just happy to be on the team and have a varsity spot. Come track season that same year I was able to run some of the best times in my class. As a result, I was able to run with some of the best in the state during my sophomore year.
MileSplit Indiana: What has been your most memorable race thus far in your career?
Lucas Guerra: The most memorable race I've had is semi-state my sophomore year. Although I did not do the best I could, our team did great and we made it to the state for the first time in 45 years. It was a great day and everyone was happy, the team had done something special. A close second for me would have to semi-state this past fall. It felt good to put down a fast time to win on such a difficult course.
MileSplit Indiana: What do you think has contributed to your success?
Lucas Guerra: The training I do, staying healthy, and focusing on only important things, are what have been the biggest contributions. Since I joined the Highlands team in 2017 I've gone out every day and got my runs & workouts done. My coach is great, he knows what needs to be done. He's been a great guide for me. On the other hand, the encouragement of my teammates, family, and friends are what keeps me motivated.
MileSplit Indiana: With everything that has transpired over the last month or so, give us your thoughts on the season being canceled and what your training looks right now? Going into the XC season, you look to be the favorite. Have you and your coach discussed the possibility of shifting your training to focus on the upcoming XC season?
Lucas Guerra: The cancellation of the track season is highly unfortunate. Athletes won't be able to achieve the goals they created and seniors will miss their last and final season. It's very sad. However, it is important for all sports to be cancelled due to the pandemic going on. It's not worth spreading sickness. Right now all of mine and my teammates' training is done on our own. We each go out on our own and get our runs done. We are still doing workouts and runs as if In were still competing. It's important that we don't end our hard work during this time off school and competition.
Rob Lukowski, Highland's coach, speaks after the 2019 State Meet
MileSplit Indiana: What kind of goals did you have in mind for this season and will you try to hit some of those goals in a time-trial later on this spring?
Lucas Guerra: Our team had a lot of goals in mind. We had a great group of guys who were going to be able to do a lot. Individually I didn't have too much set for myself. I had some times I would like to have hit, but I was more focused on helping prepare the team for a successful season. I am indeed doing time-trials to get some fast times before I take time off.
MileSplit Indiana: Your junior year is a huge year for the recruiting process. How has this situation affected you from that standpoint and what are some colleges you are looking at?
Lucas Guerra: My Junior year is pretty important for my decision on a college. It was crucial for me to get run some fast times and place well in the state tournament. The coronavirus affected me obviously by not allowing all of that to happen, but every other junior is in the same spot as me. It is important for me now to keep the ball rolling and bounce back with an even stronger senior year. I have not narrowed down my college choices, as I am very open and still not quite that far into the recruiting process. So at this time, I do not wish to say all the schools I'm interested in.
MileSplit Indiana: If you could do any other sport besides running, what would it be?
Lucas Guerra: If I did not run, I would want to be a basketball player. It is easily the most fun and entertaining sport.
MileSplit Indiana: Outside of running, what are some hobbies that you have?
Lucas Guerra: I really enjoy traveling. I hope to visit lot's of countries when I'm older. Besides traveling I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and potty training my new puppy Cooper.
MileSplit Indiana: Any final comments? Shout-outs?
Lucas Guerra: I'd like to thank my coaches for all the hard work he has put into our program and team. We wouldn't be where we are without them. Also, my brother Austin and my father who were the ones to get me to start running. Lastly, I'd like to thank God for always watching over me and allowing me to do what I love. Thanks Milesplit for the interview!