Catching up with Buchanan senior Meagen Lowe

As a junior, Buchanan senior Meagen Lowe won the CIF-Central Section Division I XC title, placed 2nd (to teammate Corie Smith) in the CIF-State D-I Championships, as her team earned an invite to compete at Nike Cross Nationals. In the spring, Lowe was the only junior to compete in both the 1600 and 3200 final at the State Track Championships, and the only one to hit PRs in both distances (1600 prelims and 3200 final). There's plenty more to learn about Lowe in this Q&A and in the related feature video interview. 


Today we chat with Buchanan senior distance runner, Meagen Lowe.

1) How did you get your start in running? Did you have any racing experience before high school and if so what were some of your PRs? What other sports did you play? 

I started running in 4th grade because it was the first sport upper graders could do in our district. I didn't really start focusing on running until middle school and my PR's in middle school were 2:19 for 800, 5:09 for 1600, and 11:16 for 3200. I had the school records for all three. I also played soccer until my freshman year, then I quit to focus on running.

2) What were some of your highlights and proudest achievements during the first two years in both sports (XC and TF)?
A couple of my biggest accomplishments for XC during my first two years of high school was placing 2nd at our section meet my freshman year and leading my team that placed 4th in the state! My sophomore year my biggest highlights were when I placed 6th in the state XC meet and running side by side with Corie to lead our team to a 3rd place finish at state! In track, breaking 5 minutes for the first time was a very big goal for me, so I was very excited when that finally happened! Also, placing 9th at state in the 3200 with a 20 second PR of 10:36! My sophomore year, I was very proud of my team for winning the league and section title in track!

3) Last year, your team finished in 2nd place at the state meet and qualified for NXN. When did NXN become a possibility for your team and what was the team's reaction when that became a reality?
NXN has been a goal for our program since before I joined the team my freshman year. Every year since I've been on the team we have placed one place higher at the state meet. It was pretty difficult for us placing third in the state my sophomore year, because we were so close to our goal. It has always been an unspoken goal for us, though. We try to focus on performing well at State and then NXN would come. So, we all had that goal in mind going into the state meet last year because we knew that it was the best chance we've had as a program, but we knew we needed to take one step at a time and just focus on the race we were running. I was the first one to get the call from Coach Weaver that we made NXN and I'll never forget calling all the other girls to tell them the great news!

4) You finished in 16th place as an individual at NXN. What did you learn from that experience and what were some of the highlights from the event for your team? 
NXN was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about racing at the next level. I had never raced in a race with so many talented girls and in that type of weather/terrain. (I had never even tried on XC spikes until the day before the race) I think the biggest thing that I learned from that race was to stay calm and patient and to remain confident in yourself. The course was definitely something I was not used to, so I tried to be more conservative at the start (which is very nerve racking when girls are flying by you). But I stuck to my plan and throughout the race I just stayed as relaxed and consistent as possible and ended up achieving my goal as All-American! Some bigger highlights for my team was definitely getting our uniforms at NXN, being on the start line with them knowing that we achieved our goal we have been working for all season, and just being able to hang out with them after and meet new people!

5) You finished in 2nd place in the Division I race behind teammate Corie Smith. Tell us a bit about how you help each other during practices and races? 
Corie and I are very fortunate to be able to train with each other every day. Through running we have become best friends and developed a relationship that is very helpful in races/workouts. We truly both want each other to continue to get better and succeed. We know that in big races it is very helpful to have a teammate around you to calm the nerves and work together! Although we have different racing strategies and strong points throughout the race, we work with each other and hold each other accountable in the parts that one is a little better than the other. It has definitely taken time to figure out how to work together with different racing strategies, but once we figured it out, racing has been less stressful and more fun!

6) What do you feel were your best races during this past track and field season? Proudest accomplishments? 
I believe that my best races were West Coast Relays (1600) and the State Meet (3200). At West Coast Relays I ran 4:49 and broke the BHS school record. Even though I ended up running a second faster than that by the end of the season, I believe that this race was a huge breakthrough for me. I ran my race very consistent, and ran solo for about half of it. I think that race truly showed me how good of shape I was in and how strong I was! The state meet 3200 was also a highlight for me because it was my first time doubling (1600,3200) at state. The final for the 1600 did not go the way I wanted and I was very upset after. I think the 3200 was a highlight for me because it showed me that I am maturing mentally in this sport as well. I put my disappointment behind me and focused on doing the best that I could in the 3200 and ended up one place off of the podium and a 2 second PR! I think my proudest accomplishment was our team title in the Section, we broke the record of most consecutive titles for TF! It was a very rewarding feeling for the whole team!!

7) Your team has the unique opportunity to compete at the California state track and field meet at your own track. How cool is that to compete in front of such a large crowd at your home track?
It is amazing to compete on our home track at the State meet! I have been running Meets on that track since 4th grade so it's all I'm used to. Our team often forgets how fortunate we are to have such an amazing facility to train and compete at on a daily basis because that is all we have known. I have grown up going to watch the state track meet, so it's even more special to be able to compete at it now! 

8) What does a typical training week look like for your during the season? Typical mileage? Distance of longest run? Any morning runs? Strength work?
A typical training week during the season is usually a distance run on Mondays, tempo run on Tuesday, recovery/distance on Wednesday's, faster workout Thursday, pre-meet or distance run on Friday, and either a race or workout Saturday. (It varies depending on what day we race) My typical weekly mileage is around 50-60 depending on the time of the season. My longest run over the summer will be 16 miles. Our runs during summer are always in the morning (it gets too hot here) but during the season we don't usually run in the morning unless it's supposed to be insanely hot that day and we can split up our mileage. We do normal strength work after practice (pushups, squats, lunges) and many people do core and other strength exercises on their own.

9) Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC course? Favorite XC workout? Favorite TF invitational? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF workout? Favorite free time activity?
Favorite XC Invite- Woodbridge (night racing is the best!), Favorite XC Course- Woodbridge, Favorite XC Workout- 5x mile repeats (you feel accomplished after- it's definitely not fun during), Favorite TF Invite- Arcadia, Favorite TF Event- 1600 (usually changes between 1600 and 3200), Favorite TF Workout- anything involving 400s at mile pace or faster, Favorite Free Time Activity- painting!!

10) Looking ahead to the upcoming XC season, what invitationals are you most looking forward to racing? What are some of your individual and team goals that you would like to share?
This year I am really looking forward to Woodbridge because it is always such a fun race and is usually pretty early in the season so it's great to see where I'm at! I'm also really looking forward to Clovis Invite because it's a great place to see how good of shape I'm in compared to other points in my season in the past. Some individual goals that I have made for myself is to run quite a bit faster than I did last season at Woodward and to continue to work with Corie to try to go 1-2 again! Team-wise, we lost 4 of our 7 girls so we're really working to bring up the next group of girls and to all continuously improve! I think we can do special things with the work ethic and determination of all the girls on the team this year!

11) Now that you are in the midst of looking at colleges, how much of a factor will running be when it comes to picking a college? What are other important factors to you?
Running is the main factor for me during my college search. Obviously, I want to go receive a great education and I want to love the school itself, but the running program and coaches are the biggest factors for me.

12) Tell us a little about your coach and how he has helped you develop as a runner?
Coach Weaver is the best coach I could ask for. He holds me accountable and definitely reminds me what my true potential could be. He believes in me when I don't believe in myself, and is always there for me through everything (running related or not.) We have a great relationship and without him and his guidance, I don't think I would be where I am today. Throughout my years as a Bear, I have had my ups and downs through races and workouts and he is always there to ensure that the bad days don't define me and the good days are taking me one step closer to my goals! He's helped me the most mentally, though. I used to go into big races thinking that I don't belong with the top girls in the state, but he has helped me realize my true potential and has helped me gain confidence in my ability to go out and run my race, knowing that I belong there!

13) As a senior member of the Buchanan XC team, why should new freshmen join your team and why is cross country so awesome?
I think Cross Country and Track give people something that you can't find anywhere else. It gives you a group of people who are all working towards one goal and only you can make yourself better. It is truly the most rewarding sport out there because you get out what you put in. It teaches people hard work, dedication, and how to live a certain life style dedicated to becoming the best you can be. It doesn't matter if you are the best on the team or the worst, if you come to practice everyday and work your hardest, it will be rewarding. Our biggest saying on the Bears XC team is "be the best you". If you are continuously bettering yourself, you are succeeding, but if you are comparing yourself to others and getting down on yourself that someone is faster than you, you are only hurting yourself. Cross country teaches you these lessons that also apply to life in general, so as much as it teaches you to be a better athlete, it also teaches you how to be a better person! This program also gives you friendships and relationships with people that you can't find anywhere else!!

14) Anything else you would like to add.
I would just like to give a big thank you to all of our coaches, parents, and administrators who take time out of their day to come and support our team!! Also, shoutout to all of Buchanan XC/TF for continuously going out every day and working hard to achieve our goals and represent our school the best we can!

Thank you very much for your time Meagen! AJC