Student athlete profile

Name: David Lacayo

Year: senior

Hometown: Clarendon Hills

How did you get into cross country?

Back in sixth grade a group of my close friends did cross country and said I should try it. So in seventh grade I tried it and absolutely loved it. I really felt like mentally and physically it was the sport I enjoyed the most.

What do you enjoy about it?

I honestly think it's the grind. It's the feeling of getting up at 6:30 in the morning in the summer and running 25x400 intervals. There's such a sense of accomplishment you feel.

How have you improved since freshman year?

Freshman year I was still pretty new to the whole competing scene, and I was really kind of ignorant to how important dual meets are. That's where you're able to match up (against competitors) and implement strategies since some of the best teams in the state are in our conference.

Is it tough navigating COVID-19?

It's very nice that we were one of the few sports that was able to still have a season. We've really taken advantage of that. We put a lot more emphasis on the dual meets. We got a lot more excited for those.

How would your teammates describe you?

Hardworking, always smiling, a leader. I feel like I help a lot of guys find a place on the team. As seniors we were in charge of little groups for guys over the summer who wanted to train and get better. I took about four or five underclassmen under my wing, and it was a great experience.

How do you prepare for a meet?

I love to meditate. Nerves impacted me when I was younger, and my teammate started incorporating meditation and breathing techniques before a race. Now I'm big on meditation.

Who inspires you?

In the running world it's Mo Farah, especially his finish. My coaches are also inspiring because they have families but are still out there running with us.

Why does coach Jim Westphal like having Lacayo on the squad?

David is an extremely dedicated athlete, incredibly conscientious, thoughtful and an overall leader by example. David excels in the classroom and is also a gifted musician, a very well-rounded individual who is a great role model for our younger athletes.

- profile by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff