Charlie Lott may have done his best work by resting up this fall.
The Trinity Presbyterian senior shaved nearly 13 seconds off of last year’s time in the cross country championships despite medical issues for much of the fall.
“I had a really up-and-down season this year because I had a lot of health issues I was dealing with,” he said. “I had been running terribly all year and was really discouraged for most of the year, to be honest.”
Recovering from nose surgery and a bout with mononucleosis may have been a blessing, as it turned out.
“I found that out and I was like, this is good,” Lott said. “It doesn’t sound good but I have good reasons for wavering. Instead of working hard, I was resting hard. And it ended up paying off because I was just resting, trying to recover from surgery, trying to get over mono and I ended up running really well at the end of the year.”
Lott turned in a time of 16:21.71 to win the Class 4A boys cross country championship by more than eight seconds over Noah Flynn of St. John Paul and help the Wildcats claim a fourth-place finish in the event.
“Since the 10th grade, I’ve won the mile and 2-mile at state in track so I’ve won individual titles before,” he said. “But that one, I felt amazing the whole race. From the gun, I kind of knew after the first mile I was in a good position to win. Winning that, I was excited, just to know how much we had put into it and how much we had gone through. Probably the best feeling I’ve had running, for sure, besides the first time we won a state championship” in 2015.
Before he ever lined up for the cross country finals, Lott knew his next event would be indoor track, not basketball as it had been for the previous five years.
“I just decided, going into the year, that running is my primary sport, the one I want to be best at,” Lott said. “Basketball has always held me back a little bit because it’s so much energy and time in the winter. And with indoor track in the winter and then outdoor track starting at the end of February, I decided that I want to just run so I can have the whole winter training block to train and see just how good I can be running.”
For the past three years, Lott has played an integral role in the Wildcats’ success on the hardwood and while some would understand his decision not to play after the retirement of veteran coach Jack Schweers and the 2018-19 debut of new coach Matt Arrighi, it’s not as simple as some might think.
“In all honesty, that probably makes the decision harder,” Lott said. “With coach Schweers, I guess it’s even hard for me to imagine not playing if he was coaching but obviously we all knew this (past) year would be his last season. There were times when they were going through the selection process I was worried and scared because I knew I wanted coach Arrighi to become the coach but I also knew if he became the coach I was going to have to tell him I don’t think I’m going to play. That’s something I wasn’t looking forward to.
“He was my basketball coach in the seventh grade and when I moved up to varsity in the ninth grade, he became a fulltime varsity assistant coach that same year. That one still tears me apart, not playing for him. I loved him and wish I could play for him.”
And while there are a few colleges that would offer Lott a spot on their roster, he hopes a strong finish in indoor and outdoor track – where he runs the 800-meter run, 1600-meter run and 3200-meter run – could land him a scholarship offer. In the meantime, he has a few goals for the upcoming season.
“Indoor is 4A and 5A (competing together) so there’s a little more competition,” Lott said. “There’s three individual distance races. My goal is to win two of them. Outdoor would be the same three, but since it’s just 4A, my individual goal is to win the triple crown. But I have other teammates who can compete in some of the races so we’ll see how we can run it” and possibly win a team championship.