Adam Lucero is serious about running.
Everything else is easy street.
An incoming senior on the Camarillo High boys’ cross country team, Lucero is a student athlete who knows how to keep things light.
During a team trip to Mammoth Lakes a couple years ago, Lucero and teammates Heyden Wooff and Daniel Stebbings went to Vons to pick up a few items. Lucero and Wooff kept throwing random—and unnecessary— goods into the cart just to get under Stebbings’ skin.
“We have the same sense of humor,” Wooff said of Lucero.
“ He’s one of the funniest people I know. There are so many inside jokes.”
Lucero might be a goofy teenager, but when something grabs his attention, the Scorpion transforms.
“It’s crazy seeing him start something new,” Wooff said. “He’ll be okay at something—then he’ll start trying. All of a sudden, it’s a whole different Adam.
“Once he wants to do something, he can really work for it and get there pretty quickly.”
By his own admission, Lucero, who turned 17 on Sunday, wasn’t very good at running cross country when he started on the frosh-soph team four years ago.
“I was one of the slowest on the team,” Lucero said.
He took his lumps as a sophomore before taking off last season.
Lucero helped Camarillo take fifth place overall in the 2010 Division 2 state meet.
Wooff, who leaves for Arizona State next week, led Camarillo’s charge last year. Lucero is now ready to fill the No. 1 role.
“He pushes me to go faster,” said junior teammate Esteban Vega of Lucero.
Senior Ian Broderick enjoys having the upbeat Lucero lead the way.
“ He can make a bad day good,” Broderick said. “ Everything’s chill with Adam. He knows how to make a situation better. He has a positive outlook.”
One of Lucero’s best races occurred during last fall’s Woodbridge Cross Country Classic.
The Scorpion completed the course in 15 minutes, 17 seconds.
He was also the fastest junior boy at the Ventura County Championships at Lake Casitas, taking fifth overall.
Lucero said missing a week of training midway through his junior season curtailed some of his progress.
“If you have to stop for injury, even for a week, it throws off your training dramatically,” the longdistance runner said. “I really hope to be the top runner in the county. It’s really hard, but that’s my goal. There’s great competition.
“I also want to make it to state with my team.”
Wooff said Lucero and the Scorpions can make a repeat visit to the state finals.
“They can go far with Adam,” Wooff said. “With Esteban Vega, Joel Gonzalez and Cole Couchman returning, they can go far. They can go to state and maybe do even better, as long as someone else steps up. They can be really good this year.”
Lucero wants to stay healthy, train efficiently, sleep well and eat right.
Although Camarillo has begun preseason training, Lucero knows the importance of pace.
“We’re starting to pick up the miles and we’re training hard,” he said. “We don’t want to peak too early.”
The key to success for any distance runner is mental fortitude and the will to win.
Lucero will play ping pong and poker for hours just to make sure he wins the last game, Wooff said.
“You need competitiveness in this sport,” Wooff said.
“You can’t be okay with losing in running. If you’re content with being 15th or 20th, you’re not going to improve. If you want to be at the top, you’re going to work harder. You have to work your butt off in cross country and track.”
Lucero comes from a long line of strong runners.
His three older brothers— Brandon, Michael and Ryan—all starred in cross country for head coach Mike Smith. Brandon, who went on to compete at UC Irvine, runs triathlons and marathons.
The son of Debbie and Frank, Lucero has a grandfather and uncle who won individual distance running state championships in New York and Nevada, respectively.
Lucero, who enters the school year with a 3.3 grade-point average, has talked with coaches about running at multiple universities, including Loyola Marymount. He’s keeping his options open.
The Scorpion enjoys many physical activities, including soccer, hiking and biking.
He’s excited about his senior season.
“I just want to compete,” Lucero said.