It was in middle school that Orange Lutheran senior Lucas Bucci initially found an interest in running. He joined a local running club and carried his passion for the sport with him to high school, joining the Lancers cross country and track and field teams.
“It’s freeing to run,” says Bucci. “It gets your body moving. It’s relaxing once you work past the strain.”
The Huntington Beach resident has dealt with some unique challenges in light of COVID-19. Runners rarely take days off when they are training, and given the stay-at-home orders from last spring, hybrid learning and his distance from campus, Bucci has completed many of his workouts over the past 10 months on his own, a commitment that takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline.
And while the status of high school cross country and track seasons are still to be determined, Bucci’s breakthroughs last year as a junior are keeping him motivated and hopeful for a competition season he can build on.
“Lucas is a four-year senior with tremendous talent,” says OLu cross country head coach, Kristen Goossens. “His incredible improvement last season earned him the honors of serving on the CIF Finals boys cross country team and being one of the fastest 800-meter runners in the Trinity League. Lucas always gives 100 percent to every practice and is a true joy for a coach to train.”
Bucci is hitting high marks in the classroom as well, maintaining a 4.5 GPA with plans to pursue a career in engineering.
“He is the true example of what a student athlete should look like, as his academic course work and achievements match his athletic accolades,” says Goossens.
Mental strength, consistency and pushing through the pain are what come to mind for Bucci when he considers all that running has taught him thus far.
“I know in running the strain can be pretty challenging, but if you overcome that, you can improve a lot more,” says Bucci. “I feel like that can be applied to a lot of other instances and parts of life.”
Bucci also has an artistic side and enjoys sketching and playing the electric guitar. The 17-year old plans to continue running after high school, even if it is on his own, as he feels the benefits are important for both physical and mental health.
Although he is uncertain as to how his running career as a Lancer will conclude, Bucci is grateful for the chance to run for his faith at OLu. The role models in his life keep him grounded, including his mother, who is “the most hard-working and most kind person I know,” along with his grandfather, who immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala.
“He grew up poor, but what I admire about him is that he studied very hard and is now a doctor,” says Bucci. “I just really admire how he came from those origins…and he brought this life for our family.”