Luke Stevenson Breaks 35-year-old Cross Country Record


Submitted by Luke Stevenson

Stevenson took 1st place in two races over the season, including the Stan Nelson meet where Stevenson’s time was 15.58.

On November 4, Luke Stevenson ran at the Class 5 State Meet and broke a 35-year-old school record from 1987 for the fastest 5k. Stevenson also finished in 8th place, the second-best Pattonville placement at a State meet, and was a top finisher from the St. Louis Metropolitan area.

There are only two people in Pattonville history that have gone under 16 minutes for a 5k, Roger Knedel, and now Luke Stevenson.

“Anytime an athlete breaks a school record it is a big deal,” Coach Matthew McClellan said. “Especially at a school like Pattonville that has been around for so long. It shows that the Pattonville cross country program has been good for a long time and is continuing to grow and improve.”

To go top ten and break a school record as a runner there are many things that come into play. “First, the athlete has to have the physical ability to run fast,” McClellan said. “Luke is physically tall and strong which helps him run faster.”

With the prospect of going all-state and breaking the school record on the line, “I was pretty nervous the whole week leading up to the race, but I was also super excited to run at state again,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson had been working towards breaking this record throughout the whole season. Last year, his fastest time was 16.43 minutes.

“I was pumped when I saw I beat the school record as well as getting 8th,” Stevenson said.

Cross Country athletes have to push their bodies past physical barriers, especially when attempting to run faster than an athlete has ever run before. Beyond just physical barriers, mental barriers hold many runners back. In order to run this competitively, having the right mentality is extremely important.

“The athlete has to be mentally tough and want to compete,” McClellan said. “In Luke’s case, he loves to compete and runs his best when he is in a race against other top runners.”

I feel like I have a really good mentality for running, I don’t let anything cause me to lose motivation. In the end, it all paid off.

— Luke Stevenson

Further than working hard, goals have a significant impact on running. “Goals give me a reason to try and work to achieve them. Without goals there really wouldn’t be much motivation to improve,” Stevenson said.

The final step that McClellan said goes into doing well at this level is hard work.

“The athlete has to work hard and commit to achieving their goal,” he said. “Luke ran cross country in elementary school, and middle school before running at the high school. He also runs in the winter and summer in between cross country and track seasons so he has put in a lot of work over the years to get to this point.”

Stevenson trains for cross country all year around getting miles in over the winter and summer and uses the spring track season to work on his speed.

“Track season is right around the corner, I plan to use this season to work on my speed to be able to hold an even faster pace during Cross Country races,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson will be returning next cross country season, for one final high school season. To learn more about Pattonville’s Cross Country history and records, visit Pattonville’s Cross Country and Track website.