Junior All-American Craig Lutz was always the best runner on his high school team, but when he arrived at Texas, he quickly realized that his teammates and the competition were just as good as him.
“I jumped into a program like Texas where I was no longer number one,” Lutz said. “From day one, it was always, you have to work your way through the woodwork and work with the team. But your individual goals are still in front of you.”
Lutz, who was twice named Gatorade Runner of the Year in Texas and was selected to the World Junior Cross Country team in high school, hasn’t been fazed by the competition. As a freshman, Lutz finished 33rd in the NCAA Championships, which earned him All-American honors. He also placed 13th at the Big 12 Outdoor Track Championships, which earned him the Freshman of the Year award.
“When you achieve that [All-American honors] especially at the University of Texasb you are representing the state itself,” Lutz said. “The men’s cross country and track teams have had a lot of individual success over the years, it’s nice to know that I’m a part of that success.”
At the start of his sophomore year, Lutz picked up where he had left off, participating in five cross country events and qualifying for nationals. But during nationals, Lutz suffered a leg injury which forced him to stop running.
“It’s pretty hard to wear the burnt orange and drop out like that,” Lutz said. “It was definitely a shock.”
Pushing through the injury helped Lutz learn he could push through challenges. This helped Lutz during his sophomore outdoor track season where he finished third in the 10,000-meter race at the NCAA Championships and earned his second All-American honor and his first in outdoor track. Lutz’s third place finish helped Texas to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
“The hard work and dedication got me to where I was in outdoor,” said Lutz. “Sometimes you need to go through those hardships to help you bounce back.”
Now in his junior year, Lutz’s goal is to win an individual championship but his ultimate goal is to help Texas win the Big 12 conference title and ultimately a national championship.
In his first cross country event this season, he finished in first place and looks to continue performing well when Texas competes at the Wisconsin Adidas
Invitational on Saturday.