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Running The Show

Running The ShowSince the retirement of longtime coach Connie Putnam, Tufts senior cross country star Matt Lacey has become a leader on and off the track.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.27.05] Tufts interim cross country coach Ethan Barron refers to his star runner as the “perfect ambassador.” Since longtime coach Connie Putnam stepped down in August, Barron says co-captain Matt Lacey has helped to keep the team on track.

“I definitely couldn't sit here and write a better situation here for a first-year coach,” Barron told the Boston Herald.

Led by Lacey, the Jumbos are ranked fifth nationally and number one in New England. In early October, at the All-New England Cross Country championships at Boston’s Franklin Park, the 5-foot-7, 135-pound senior finished fifth in what proved to be the best male Jumbo performance at the championships since the 1970s.

The Amherst native is the third track athlete from his regional high school to land at Tufts in recent years. He says he was prepared to take a leadership role this season because of the solid examples they set.

“It's been great,” Lacey, an architectural engineering major, told the newspaper. “The attitude everyone has is passed down. This is what we do. This how we're going to win. Everyone is really devoted to it. It makes it easy when it's your time to step up because everyone before you has shown you how to do it.”

Lacey, who set Tufts outdoor track records for the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters last spring, does it better than most, however. And his former coach agrees.

“Matt is a jewel,” Putnam, who recently retired from a distinguished, 21-year coaching career at Tufts,” told the Herald. “We knew we had a diamond in the rough. He probably has the best work ethic of anyone I've had in 38 years in the business. He's been a leader right from his freshman year. When you meet him you just know you're meeting quality.”

But Lacey chalks up his hard work and dedication to the team as being part of his typical routine.

“These are all my friends so it’s not like I feel like I have to do anything different than I normally would,” he told the Herald.












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