WAVERLY - There’s a reason why former Springville standout Sam Lorimer was widely considered one of the best distance and middle distance runners in school history when he graduated three years ago.
Lorimer has a drive to succeed built deep inside him that is off the charts, and has helped propel him to phenomenal performances not only at the high school level with the Orioles, but also at the collegiate level as well with the Wartburg College men’s cross country and track programs over the past several seasons.
Last spring as a Wartburg College sophomore, Lorimer was a part of an extremely successful Knight distance medley relay team that competed at the outdoor D-III National Championships. Lorimer was making a name for himself on a national level, and he spent last summer in Waverly working out with his friends and teammates looking to come back as a junior with Wartburg’s cross country program this past fall and continue that upward trend.
That desire to succeed also never stops, so when Lorimer doesn’t perform at the level he expects, there are no excuses.
There are only repercussions.
“That didn’t happen,” Lorimer said. “My cross country season didn’t go as planned, at all. It wasn’t as bad as my freshman year but sure wasn’t as good as my sophomore year. All season long it seemed I just got into my own head and wasn’t performing to my capabilities.”
Lorimer opened his 2019 cross country campaign with a 16-minute, 47.7 clocking at Wartburg’s own John Kurtt 5K event back on Sept. 7.
“We won the meet as a team pretty easily,” Lorimer said. “But it wasn’t because of anything I did. That was not the start I wanted to get off to at all, and that after spending all that time up in Waverly working out and preparing for this. I was extremely disappointed, but I was also extremely motivated to get it turned around as quickly as possible.”
In his first 8K of the season, Lorimer crossed the finish like with a 29:29.1 effort at another home meet Oct. 5, in Waverly.
“Again, not what I wanted,” he said. “Honestly, it wasn’t until the last cross country meet of the year that I felt I finally got things going, and there was probably a reason for that, too,” he said. “I had been having such a tough year, and this being my last meet my individual expectations had been lowered and I think that just took a lot of pressure off of myself. I was able to go out and run my best race of the season.”
At the Saga Cup in Decorah Nov. 6, Lorimer was sixth on the team and seventh overall at the event hosted by Luther College finishing with a time that was more than two-minutes faster than his previous season-best crossing with a 27:24 clocking that helped Wartburg to yet another team championship.
“I was hoping that performance might help me heading into my track indoor season about a month later, but again, I didn’t have the type of season I was expecting there either,” he said. “I had some pretty high goals for my indoor season after all the success we had during my sophomore year, but it just didn’t work out the way I had planned.”
Lorimer’s disappointment was somewhat relative however, as he usually scored points for a dominant Wartburg team in the 800 and 1600-meter events, finishing third in the mile at Wartburg’s Chelsey M. Henkenius Open Jan. 18, with a solid 4:27.73 clocking while also taking third in the 800 at another Knight home meet Jan. 31, crossing with a 1:59.37 effort.
At Wartburg’s Friday Night Lights event Feb. 7, he was second to teammate Dalton Martin in the 800 coming through with a 1:56.78 effort.
“I was pretty consistent with that 1:56 time in the 800 during the entire indoor season,” Lorimer said. “My PR is 1:55.01, and I wanted to improve on that time this year, but wasn’t able to get it lowered.”
At Wartburg’s Liz Wuertz Indoor Invitational Feb. 22, the former Oriole helped his Wartburg team yet again taking fourth in the 800 after a 1:56.70 clocking before a couple of season-ending performances once again had Lorimer frustrated.
“The conference meet (March 28) was bad,” he said. “I was seeded fifth in the 800 and placed 12th (in 1:59.03). Then at the NCAA qualifier (on March 6), I was 19th (in 1:58.71).
“Overall, the indoor season was a tough one for me, but sometimes that’s going to happen. You have to take the good with the bad and be willing to work and come back and make it better next time.”
Only problem is, Lorimer and the Wartburg men’s track and field team had that ‘next time’ completely taken away when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NCAA to cancel the entire collegiate outdoor campaign.
“We were all pretty blind sighted by that,” he said. “But for me individually, I wasn’t quite as disappointed. I’ll use this time to refresh and recharge and get back into my training regime. I did want to get another shot at Loras and take the outdoor conference title back after they beat us for the indoor title in November, but hopefully we can get that done next year.
“The ones I really feel for though are the seniors. That’s not how anyone wants to go out, having their final season taken away, but we all understand why these drastic steps were necessary.”
Lorimer, a secondary education major, could see his senior cross country and track campaigns with the Knights a little limited, as he begins student teaching duties at Charles City High School this fall.
“I’m hoping that by doing student teaching next fall I can focus more on that and not quite so much on running and maybe take a little of the pressure off that I usually put on myself,” he said. “Because of the season being cancelled, we can’t work out with our coaches, but they do have some workouts for us and I’ll do those and make sure I’m as ready as I can be for the next cross country season.
“We’ll just have to see schedule-wise where meets are and whether and I can it to them based on my student teaching schedule. I might have to drive to a few myself, I don’t know.”
Lorimer said he also wouldn’t mind helping out with the Charles City cross country program while student teaching there.
“I would love to do that if it would be okay with them,” he said. “Again, nothing is set in stone yet, but I would really enjoy passing along the knowledge I have learned to those kids there, and gain a little coaching experience for myself.”