Connor Lawrence knows no fear. Whether it be his five and a half mile effort in the Devil Run at Cougar Relays this March, his strong performance at the infamously brutal state cross country course last fall, or his upcoming enlistment in the United States military, Connor has consistently shown a knack for never backing down from a challenge. Known for his relaxed demeanor and gutsy races, Connor was the recipient of Wootton’s Patriot Award for team spirit during the 2016 cross country season, one month after being named the school’s Homecoming King. With his career likely coming to a close with Wednesday’s 4A West Regional meet, Connor sat down to discuss his illustrious high school career, including his proudest races, favorite memories, and the Homecoming King selection.
John Riker: First question. Why did you start running, and what was its allure to you?
Connor Lawrence: I actually starting running because I was forced to. My freshman year I was coming into Wootton and I didn’t really have any good friends and my mom was like ‘you’re a social outcast and you’re fat and you need to do something to change both those things.’ She forced me to do cross country. I didn’t want to, but after a week or two of it I enjoyed it and I was in love with it.
JSR: What is the hardest workout you’ve ever completed?
CL: It was probably that one time when it was really, really hot and we had to do 12 Cleveland hills at the beginning of a cross country season. It’s probably that.
JSR: Which race would you call your signature race?
CL: The one I’m most proud of is my Devils’ Race at Cougar Relays this year. I went into it and didn’t have any expectations for it, but I ended up getting fourth place and I ran like five and a half miles. I really liked that one and had a lot of fun.
JSR: You’ve competed in a number of big races such as cross country states and county A’s. To whom or to what would you attribute your success?
CL: Hard work. I don’t have any talent at all, so it’s all hard work.
JSR: What’s the best advice you’d give to a young, freshman Connor Lawrence?
CL: It would be what Coach says- to do the extras, stretch well, do core, do hips, eat well, do the Saturday workouts. Do everything right.
JSR: From my perspective as a sophomore, the senior class this year seems to be a very tight-knit and close group. Describe what it has been like to run with them for the past four years.
CL: Pretty awesome. All the boys especially, TITLE, we’re really close and they’re like my brothers. Everyone else is like my extended family. I’m really close with them and am really happy to have gotten to know them. It’s been really fun.
JSR: What was your reaction to being named Homecoming King last fall?
CL: I thought it was pretty cool. I kind of expected it because so many cross country people said that they voted for me. It’s pretty cool. I just like to be up there flexing in my pink suit.
JSR: Next year you’re enlisting in the Navy. What inspired that decision?
CL: I originally wanted to run cross country and track in college and I applied and got accepted to several schools that all wanted me to run for them. But I decided that I needed to take an academic break because I felt like I wasn’t going to be as successful as I could in college at this point. So I just decided that I was going to go into the military and discipline myself a bit more and then use the GI Bill to go to school after four years.
JSR: How do you want to be remembered by the Wootton community?
CL: I want to be remembered as someone who didn’t take everything too seriously, but when they needed to take things seriously was able to. When it was time to do workouts and races, I would take it seriously, but I like to have fun still. I want people to see me and know ‘oh, he’s not all work, he’s a good balance of the two.’