Up front in the hive of cross country runners, a cross-country fan would not have to look too far to find amongst the lead pack Sixth Former Lleyton Winslow.
As the 2019 co-captain, Winslow has led the group through hundreds of training miles under the scorching end-of-summer sun and amid the wet and chilly mid-autumn days.
Winslow started his running career as a Second Former. He joined winter track when he was in the Third Form and first ran spring track during the last few months of his Fourth Form year.
Going into the cross country season this year, Winslow was eager to run well. He has only been improving since the end of last year’s cross country season and had made significant strides during his Fifth Form year. This season, however, has proven difficult for Winslow.
“Although personally, I’m not too happy with my performance,” Winslow said, “I’m content just seeing everyone get better and the team performing well.”
Most students think that running is not the most enjoyable sport. As a matter of fact, many coaches may even use running as a punishment.
Winslow cannot deny his love-hate relationship for the sport but asserted that the unique team atmosphere found in cross country keeps him motivated to run.
In previous years Winslow fostered friendships with the team’s current members and the upperclassmen who have since graduated. He recalls the strong leadership of past captains and aspires to encourage the underclassmen just as they did.
“The upperclassmen in the past molded me into the runner I am now.”Lleyton Winslow ’20
“I remember, in my underclassmen years, looking up to the captains and thinking, ‘I can’t wait till I’m them.’ Now, as a captain, it motivates me to think that the younger guys can look up to me,” Winslow said. “The upperclassmen in the past molded me into the runner I am now.”
With leadership standards set by previous captains, Winslow was apprehensive about taking the role himself going into this season.
“I was really worried because sophomore year and freshman year, I was really quiet and wasn’t very outgoing or a natural-born leader. Slowly, I’ve started to begin public speaking and try to be someone people like listening to,” Winslow said. “So when Coach asked me to be captain, I was really worried that I wouldn’t do well in the role. But I think I’m doing a good job: the younger guys have come to ask me questions and look up to me for guidance.”
As captain and one of the school’s leading runners, Winslow feels he has a responsibility to race well and fulfill his position on the team. He knows his performance is an aspect of the team’s performance, and it motivates him to run fast.
“I want to make everyone proud. When I’m running and I see Vincent [Scauzzo] or A.J. [Sanford] ahead of me, it makes me want to run up to them because I know that if I don’t run well, I’m letting them down, I’m letting the team and the coaches down,” Winslow said.
Winslow calls his mother his biggest supporter. He appreciates the sacrifices she has made for him to attend school and run at Haverford. In response, he is determined to train hard and run fast in meets to make her proud.
“She’s there every step of the way; she can’t always physically make it to the meets, but she’s there in spirit. She’s always texting me before meets, ‘good luck,’ and I don’t know if I’d be as fast or like running as much if it weren’t for her,” Winslow said.
On EA Day, Winslow looks forward to seeing the team give its best effort on the course. He mentioned the difficulty of the course but is confident that the team is ready to race hard.
“I can’t wait to see classmates that I’ve been with since lower school compete.”Lleyton Winslow ’20
“Now that I’m a captain and a senior, I can’t wait to see classmates that I’ve been with since lower school compete as well,” Winslow said. “I remember in third grade people like Will Boyes playing soccer and wondering where he was going to go with it, and now he’s going to be playing in the varsity soccer game that we used to watch together back in kindergarten.”
Winslow expresses gratitude to the people who have supported him along his journey.
“I want to give a thank you to my coaches, Mr. Long and Mr. Lengel. Since freshman year, they’ve been great mentors for me,” Winslow said. “Also, shoutout to my family—my mom, and dad, and sisters—and to my teammates, they’re my best friends. I’m going to miss them next year, I’m going to miss Haverford.”