Monday, November 21, 2011

Lucas Verzbicas Bails on Oregon Track to Pursue Triathlon

(Verzbicas while running one of two cross country meets, photo courtesy of Ken Moreland)
Phenom runner Lucas Verzbicas, who joined the University of Oregon track team two months ago after a stellar year setting numerous high school records (and becoming the fifth sub-4 minute high school miler in the US), recently quit the team to pursue triathlon and hopefully making an Olympic team.

As quoted in the Chicago Tribune, Verzbicas said "As a triathlete, I could really make an impact for the sport and only have good things happen.  As a runner, I don't know.  Maybe I could be in the top 20 in the world, maybe the top 10, but I wouldn't make such an impact." It appears his recent win at the Junior Triathlon World Championships sealed the deal, and was probably also aided by the fact that his stepfather, Romas Bertulis, was named head of the Elite Triathlon Academy that began in Colorado Springs three months ago. And if you are Olympic bound and not a US citizen, like Verzbicas, triathlon provides better access than track.

Hopefully he is voting for his greatest passion, for it would be a shame to see such a talent choose a path because it's the easiest way to be "the best" at a sport. I'm sure his team at UofO will feel the loss. But I am sure he will be fabulous at whatever he pursues.


  1. I've lost a lot of respect for Lukas. He deserted his team in the middle of the season.

  2. I agree it was sad to see him bail on his team. I have all the hopes that he does well at what ever he does, but in the end that was a punk move by him.

  3. Just to quickly clear something up. Lukas didn't do this to try and qualify for 2012 Olympics. He is still not a US Citizen; he's Lithuanian. He's applied for citizenship but there's really no chance it will be finalized by Summer 2012. The Triathlon has a weird rule that you can compete at International races representing a country without actually being a citizen, but that doesn't work at the Olympics. His next Olympic eligibility is 2016, since he's made it clear he wouldn't represent Lithuania.

    Whether Lukas chooses triathlon or running (or both) doesn't really concern me. He is free to do whatever he feels is in his best interest. The part that REALLY bugged me was bailing on the team 2 weeks before regionals, pretty much destroying their chance of qualifying for nationals. That won't put you in good graces with the rest of the US runners.

  4. I think this shows a lack of mental and emotional fortitude. He was not winning every race and so it was not so fun. Therefore he bails. Does not bode well for his long term career.

  5. First and foremost, bailing on your XC team SUCKS. No excuse for that.
    Clearly, this is a competitive kid who is actually thinking clearly about his future. He's not Ethiopian or Kenyan and he realizes the likelihood of him earning a decent living and/or excelling in mid-distance events isn't there.
    Ah, rather than re-hash the article, just read this:

  6. Should sign up to this website, wonderful place. Thought it was with bing


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