Thomas Ling began running while in middle school, and when he visited Orange Lutheran, he knew he wanted to be a part of the school’s cross country team.
“I kept with it because it really grew on me, and I love the sport,” says Ling of cross country. “I like that I can clear my head. I don’t have to think about anything but running.”
As a four-year runner and senior captain for the Lancers, the coaching staff leans on Ling’s veteran presence in all aspects of the team’s training.
“Thomas is one of most thoughtful and helpful athletes on the cross country team,” says OLu cross country head coach, Steve Mattoon. “His leadership is found in his actions and his ability to get his teammates moving in the correct direction. He makes sure new athletes know what is expected on a run…and he helps keep the senior guys prepared for practice. I can always depend on Thomas to step up, even when not asked to do so.”
In his final year competing as a student athlete for OLu, Ling is going to miss the unique community that exists within the Lancer cross country team.
“It didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t the fastest, I just enjoy the family aspect of the sport,” says the 17-year old. “Cross country has the best family community that I’ve seen in a sports team in my experiences because of just how tight-knit the group is. Everyone supports each other. Everyone likes each other and is there for each other.”
Ling serves as an Ignite leader and basketball equipment manager, as well as a member of OLu’s Student Athlete Leadership Training Council. He is in the final stages of becoming an Eagle Scout and hopes to study business and psychology in college.
Supported by his parents, motivated by his teachers and inspired by his coaches, Ling sees a tremendous amount of life reflected in running.
“I’ve learned that sometimes life is an uphill battle, and I’ve learned that even though it hurts to keep going, you’ve got to keep going,” says Ling. “It’s going to be hard before it gets better. But when you finally push through to the end of the race…the internal gratification is so nice. I think it symbolizes life.”by Jenelyn Cunningham Russo ‘88