The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Hard running, good attitude and dedication help Tyler Stover focus on achieving goals

Given a word or a few words to describe him, and Tyler Stover knows people will paint him as a different character.

In fact he’s heard the words “he-must-be-like-everyone-else-from-Manhattan-Beach,” a number of times over.

However, he’ll explain in regards to that comment that he’s ventured along another path.

One that has him at cross country competition on weekends, on local beaches searching for and riding waves as much as any week would allow him, while also pursuing a career as a lifeguard.

Trying to be unique

“I’m not normal. I try to be different than what people expect me to be like,” the 18-year-old freshman said. “I try not to fit the stereotype of the Manhattan Beach-type… Everyone is so quick to judge.”

While Stover is a key component behind the men’s cross country success this season, he concedes that the college distance, which is a mile longer than the three miles in high school meets, remains very new to him, though he’s becoming more acclimated three races into the season

“So far, he has made the adjustment from high school to college very well,” coach Dean Lofgren said. “You have to figure he’s running four miles instead of three now.”

He’s second in time among his teammates, yet there’s some dissatisfaction in it. But that’s due to his near-defiant competitive nature. He’d like to be first every week because he’s used to it.

Welcome new addition

“He has looked very strong so far and is developing nicely,” Lofgren said. “He has been number one or two in all of our meets so far.”

“After the third mile, it used to be over. Now I’ve got to come back with a mile-kick. Getting used to it is a big difference,” Stover said.

During Stover’s high school years, either he won 10k and 5k races in his division or he was among the top finishers.

At Mira Costa, he would seek out anyone within earshot to praise himself for winning an event.

“They got tired of hearing about it because I was always winning,” he said of the reaction he most often received.

“But that’s something that I’m trying to work on; to reduce my cockiness.”

“It’s genetics,” Stover said. His father is ‘a big water guy’ and his former Mira Costa High coach/uncle Jeff Atkinson, was the 1500m champion at the 1988 Seoul Olympic trials and went on to the finals.

When asked if there was any expectation on him to achieve similar accomplishments, he said there is none.

“Do I wanna be how everyone wants me to be, or do I set my own course?” he asked.

“I have interest in the aquatic realm. Living two blocks from the beach is great. I’m just more comfortable in the water.”

More than just a coach

Stover is grateful to have a coach in Lofgren, who he says is encouraging and supportive in his adventures outside of running; Lofgren has also been of friend of his family for more than 20 years.

“He’s the best coach I’ve ever had,” Stover said. “I’ve always wanted a coach who’s a friend outside of the sport. I know his wife and kids and can sit down and have breakfast with him.”

Sometimes, with a team having to replace a coach under any circumstance, it results in team members making adjustments to coaching techniques that are undesirable and can disrupt their chemistry, Stover said.

With Lofgren, that’s not a concern. In fact, Lofgren was instumental in Stover’s decision to attend EC.

“He was one of the top distance runners in the South Bay when he was in high school,” Lofgren said. “We knew he was talented before he came here.”

Stover’s easygoing attitude makes the working environment better for everyone on the team.

“We are close enough to where we can joke around with each other,” Lofgren said. “But he knows when it’s time to get serious.”

For the team, it’s just part Stover’s personality.

“Tyler just has such a good sense of humor,” Lofgren said. “He is a very outgoing and friendly person.”

For Stover, it’s just about doing his best and emjoying the time he will spend at EC.

“I’m glad I decided to come here, mainly because of the cost,” Stover said. “I know some people who are attending universities and are paying more than triple of what I pay.

“And the experience running here is the same as any other place,” Stover said. “It’s easier to get a two-year scholarship than a four-year scholarship for running cross country.”

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