Top News

Lauren Lowther roars as Tiger freshman

Antigonish native Lauren Lowther of the Dalhousie Tigers’ cross country team garnered top rookie honours this season in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) cross country. CONTRIBUTED
Antigonish native Lauren Lowther of the Dalhousie Tigers’ cross country team garnered top rookie honours this season in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) cross country. CONTRIBUTED - Corey LeBlanc

Antigonish native named AUS top rookie in first cross country season with Dalhousie

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

HALIFAX, N.S.  — Lauren Lowther wasted no time putting her stamp on the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women’s cross country scene.
The Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional Royals’ product captured conference rookie of the year for the recently-completed season.
“I owe so much to my teammates. They gave me great support and really motivated me,” the freshman runner with the Dalhousie Tigers said, foregoing self-praise in commenting on her accomplishment.
She talked about the importance of early-morning training sessions with her team, along with the benefit of joining a “really competitive program.”                                                                    “It all paid off,” Lowther added.

Freshman Lauren Lowther, a Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional Royals’ product, helped the Dalhousie Tigers win their seventh consecutive AUS crown. Here, she races in the St. F.X. Invitational earlier this season in her native Antigonish. CONTRIBUTED BY GAIL MACDOUGALL
Freshman Lauren Lowther, a Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional Royals’ product, helped the Dalhousie Tigers win their seventh consecutive AUS crown. Here, she races in the St. F.X. Invitational earlier this season in her native Antigonish. CONTRIBUTED BY GAIL MACDOUGALL

The first-year environmental science student secured the top-rookie nod with her 17th place finish in the conference championship meet last month in Fredericton.        
Her performance helped the Tigers win their seventh consecutive AUS banner.
“I came in with the goal of being in the top-seven on the team,” Lowther said of the AUS race, noting a three-week build-up in training heading into the conference championship was a key to her preparation. 
Rich Lehman, her head coach, challenged her to strive for conference rookie of the year.
“It felt really good that he believed in me and thought that I could do it,” Lowther said.
She added it helped “take some of the pressure off,” when it came to helping her team win another AUS championship.
“It was really great motivation for me,” Lowther noted.
As for the race, she said she stayed with a couple “really strong” St. F.X. runners for the first two loops.
As it continued, Lowther started hearing Lehman’s voice in her head.
“He was saying ‘show me one more gear,’” she said, with a laugh.
With that self-produced reminder, Lowther added she started to “really push” over the final four kilometres.
That finish, as usual, involved a challenge she tackled all season – adjusting from six to eight-kilometre distances.
“It was great how it all worked out,” Lowther said.

‘Love it here’

Her path to downtown Halifax and the Tiger program began with her recruiting visit to the university.
“I loved everything about it —  the coaches, the girls on the team and the training program,” the 18-year-old, who grew up in the Pleasant Valley/Clydesdale area of Antigonish County, said.
She also talked about the “beautiful historic campus.”
“I just love it here,” Lowther added.
There have been the usual adjustments to university life, but she said “it has all been great.”
Her head coach had equally glowingly praise for his stellar student-athlete.
“During our seven consecutive AUS championship streak, Lauren is only the third rookie to score for us at the conference championships, which I think says everything you need to know about her as an athlete,” Lehman said.
“It’s one thing to have the fitness and talent to contribute to a championship team, it’s another thing to be emotionally mature enough to get it done at crunch time in year one.”
He added Lowther is the type of student-athlete that has made the Dal program so successful in this championship run.
“When we are recruiting, we look for athleticism —  above all else — and given the choice, we will always pursue a multi-sport athlete like Lauren over one who has been focusing solely on track and cross country for their entire high school careers,” Lehman said.
Along with running, she played varsity basketball in high school.
“She is extremely coachable, adapts well to a variety of training stimuli and, most importantly, she is as competitive as they come,” he added.
Since she arrived at training camp at the end of August, Lehman noted, “You could tell she bought-in completely to the way we do things.”
“We don’t over-value what happens in September, but when there’s a banner on the line we show up and get it done. I don’t see very many single sport athletes with that mentality straight out of high school,” he said.
When asked why she is a quality runner, Lehman said “because she is a strong athlete.” 
“I can’t over emphasize this — the most important skill set a student-athlete can have in their rookie year is adaptability
“There are so many changes to these kids’ lives in their first year that the ability to set aside expectations and be open to change and growth is crucial,” he added.
Lehman noted he has never worked with a first-year student-athlete better at that than Lowther.
“I give a lot of credit to Tommy Chisholm (her cross country head coach at the Regional) for fostering this ability in her,” he explained.
“Lauren arrived more prepared than just above anyone I have ever coached.”    
 

Recent Stories