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The Day's All-Area Boys' Cross Country Runner of the Year: East Lyme's Luke Anthony

Cross country runners are often tributes to pain when crossing finish lines, various body parts failing, all wrapped around notable wincing.

Ah, but then there’s Luke Anthony, who has crossed many finish lines in his career thus far at East Lyme High School, never approaching the physical travails required of his other vocation: triathlons.

“I call it stages of pain,” Anthony was saying recently about his other athletic endeavor that features swimming, cycling and running.

And yet it all just hurts so good for a young man who has been named The Day’s 2019 All-Area Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year, leading the Vikings to their third straight Class MM title.

Anthony, a sophomore, was East Lyme’s top finisher in the Eastern Connecticut Conference, Class MM and State Open races, earning all-state honors and joining with teammates Fisher Macklin, Chris Abbey, Ben Rukundo and Griffith Posgay, among others, in keeping the championship hardware at 30 Chesterfield Road.

“I jumped into cross country last year a little late. It was sort of a gentle push from my parents,” Anthony said. “I had a cycling background. It was such a good experience being around (2018 Day Runner of the Year) Sam Whittaker and Chris Abbey. It really put me in my place.”

Turns out Anthony has been a lot of places, the latest of which came recently in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center, where he attended a Junior Olympic Development Camp for triathlons. It wasn’t long after the State Open ended that the Anthony and family headed to the airport for a trip out West. Anthony is among the elite triathletes in the country in his age group.

“One of the things triathlons have taught me is how to use your energy best,” Anthony said. “I’ve taken it to cross country. You realize it’s still gonna hurt. But you teach yourself how to adapt to the pain instead of hitting the wall.”

Anthony became interested in triathlons to maintain family tradition. His dad, John, not only ran cross country at Norwich Free Academy and the University of Hartford but qualified for the triathlon world championships twice.

Anthony’s mission during triathlons: a 750-meter swim, 13-mile bike ride and 5K run. He said a 750-meter swim is akin to 15 times back and forth in an Olympic-sized pool.

“That’s why I call it stages of pain,” he said. “When you finish swimming, for example, you are absolutely gassed. But then you get on the bike and sort of manage it, somehow.”

Anthony isn’t merely a cross country runner at East Lyme. He’s taking up swimming this winter both as a way to help East Lyme compete in the conference and state and to help his triathlon career.

“Swimming is my weakest link,” he said.

Meanwhile, he’ll return to the cross country team next fall and try to lead the troops to a fourth straight title.

“Cross country has been an amazing experience,” Anthony said. “A great group to work with. It’s one thing to work hard, but another to do it with amazing people. Coach Harf (head coach Sam Harfenist) and coach (Ryan) Ainscough are the best. The social aspect for me has been huge. We accomplish everything we do as a team and not individually.”

m.dimauro@theday.com

The Day's 2019 All-Area Boys' Cross Country Team

Player of the Year — Luke Anthony (East Lyme)

Chris Abbey (East Lyme)

Fisher Macklin (East Lyme)

Dylan McGuire (NFA)

Aidan Pepin (Waterford)

Peyton Ramsey (NFA)

Simon Reichert (Ledyard)

Ben Rukundo (East Lyme)

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