By: Mike Still, Dalhousie Athletics
Trent Lynds has literally and physically come a long way in his running career.
The first-year Dalhousie cross country athlete grew up in the small community of Maitland, N.S. and trained with the Truro Lions through junior high and the beginning of high school. He excelled in both cross country and track and field, placing in the top three at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) championships every year.
Despite his accolades, Lynds found himself doing the majority of his workouts on his own, as there wasn’t anyone who could keep up with his pace during training.
Pat Legge, Lynd’s coach at the time in Truro, also realized that he needed more of a push.
Cue Rich Lehman, the head coach of the Tigers cross country and track and field teams.
Legge had a close relationship with Lehman, who is also a distance coach with the HaliFAST running club, where a number of Dalhousie athletes compete in the summer.
Prior to Lynd’s grade 11 year, Legge suggested to him that he take the one-hour drive to Halifax to train with Lehman and the HaliFAST group, and he quickly obliged.
“I was thinking of going to Dal anyways, so I figured I might as well get with Rich now and get a couple years head start, so that’s what I did,” says Lynds.
Lynds trained with both Lehman and Lehman’s wife Hannah throughout his grade 11 and 12 seasons, while getting the opportunity to run and push himself alongside a number of current Tigers athletes as well.
He signed his letter of intent to compete with Dalhousie in December of his senior year, and just one year later, has already made a name for himself at the university level.
“When I was in Truro I didn’t have anyone to chase and I think that’s why I didn’t have that next level step to go up to, because I was never really pushed, but now I do,” adds Lynds.
According to Lehman, the two years he spent getting to know Lynds and how he operated both mentally and physically were invaluable, especially considering how short the cross country season is.
“There’s so much new stuff in your first year that we tend not to expect our first-year athletes to really to handle the training load super effectively,” says Lehman “With Trent, we didn’t have to back off in his first year because he was already familiar with the guys and the training program. We knew what he could handle and he knows what he can handle and he also knows that we’re not going to cut him if he comes off and says ‘hey this is a lot.’”
For Lynds, the results have already shown. He placed 15th at the 2016 Subway AUS Cross Country Championship at the end of October, and was also named the rookie of the year.
“To know that I’m the fastest rookie in all of Atlantic Canada is pretty crazy, because even kids from Ontario go to schools in Atlantic Canada, and it’s unbelievable,” says Lynds.
While Lynds still has plenty of goals to accomplish during his time at Dalhousie, one thing is for sure: Lehman will be there to provide advice and insight throughout the process.
“Knowing the guy helps a lot and also knowing what motivates him. Trent likes information, and knowing that before his third year, it’s a huge plus,” says Lehman.
Lynds and both cross country teams are off to the U Sports cross country championships this weekend at the University of Guelph. Race times are at 12pm (women) and 12:45pm (men) EST.