There was plenty on the line as she navigated the winding terrain over six kilometres at the 2022 Canadian Cross Country Championships in Ottawa in late November.
Still, Muriel Lovshin, a Grade11 student at Bayview Glen took it all in stride.
“My mindset for this race was to give it my all and race every moment as hard as I could, to end my season strong,” says the 16-year-old, who was running in an older age category — u20 — against 98 competitors.
“I thought about all the training and hard work this season and trusted my training to carry me through the race,” she says reflecting on running against some of the top high school and university female distance runners from Canada and the US.
The stakes were high for all competitors, with a potential berth in the World Cross-Country Championships in Australia in 2023, awaiting.
“She ran a very smart race the whole way, and executed her race plan perfectly,” says Brian Lovshin, Muriel’s Dad, who watched it all unfold live. “She pushed the pace on the final lap and had a very strong finishing kick.”
Her plan and perseverance paid off. Lovshin finished 5th at the Nationals, earning a spot at the upcoming Worlds and making it into Bayview Glen Athletics’ record books!
“This is far and away the best result we have had in BVG history,” says Kristin Carpenter, teacher at BVG, and one of Lovshin’s cross country and track coaches at the school since Grade 9.
“We have had a few students medal at OFSAA in track in the past, but we have never had a medal in both cross country and track in running, from the same student, and definitely never had a world qualifier,” says Carpenter. “For the Canadian Championships she ran up a level (u20 rather than u18) in order to try for a spot on Team Canada. Her 5th place finish is especially impressive as a result of that, and she was the second 16-year-old to cross the line at nationals,” she says.
“I am so proud of Muriel,” adds Colleen Hennessy, Upper School Social Sciences and Physical Education teacher, who has also coached Lovshin in track at Bayview Glen over the past two years.
“This is a huge accomplishment and shows her immense dedication to her sport,” says Hennessy. “With every race this season, she has made improvements to her strategy and time. She understands what it means to work hard, set big goals, and be a supportive teammate all while being an incredibly kind and thoughtful student and friend – we are incredibly proud of Muriel’s achievements this season and are excited to see her wear the red maple leaf!”
A biology and psychology teacher at BVG, Carpenter adds, “she has learned a lot about running a smart race – she sticks with the front pack and doesn’t always need to run in first place. She has learned to be patient and waits to make her move and has worked on her finishing kick as well. Race strategy is a big part of distance running and Muriel has improved a lot in that regard in conjunction with her strength and speed,” she says.
This latest accomplishment propels Lovshin to a new level.
“I was very surprised about how I finished the race and the overall result, but I was extremely excited about my placing,” says Lovshin, who trains at the Toronto Olympic Track Club in addition to Bayview Glen.
“My week is usually split between managing my schoolwork, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities outside of school with my training,” says Lovshin, whose parents and sister are also runners. “Though my training does take a lot of time out of my week with running and strength workouts, time management is an essential part of being able to keep up with the activities that I am part of. BVG has allowed me to continue to train at a high level while supporting me to achieve highly in my academics. All my coaches have had a huge impact on my workouts and races and have helped me to believe in what I can achieve if I put in the hard work,” she says.
After a short week off following the fall season, Lovshin’s preparation for the biggest competition of her young life is well underway.
She will be a member of Team Canada at the 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia in February — taking the lessons learned on and off the track at Bayview Glen with her to a global stage.
“I am very grateful for all the support from all my teachers, friends and classmates at BVG,” she
says. “It means the world to me!”