Lachlan Cook is a second-year on the track & field and cross country team, interested in pursuing a degree in media studies and psychology. Since his move from Brisbane, Australia to Charlottesville, Lachlan has made a definite impact on the team.

Lachlan is a cross country and middle distance runner. He was named ACC Cross Country Freshman of the Year in the 2016 season. He was 11th at the ACC Championships, earning All-ACC honors and finished 103rd at the NCAA Championships. In the 2017 outdoor track and field season he placed fifth in the 10000m and sixth in the 5000m at the ACC Championships.

Lachlan knew little about NCAA cross country before his friend, Patrick Tiernan, had a spectacular career at Villanova, winning the NCAA title last fall. “I hadn’t heard about the opportunity [to compete in the U.S.] before Patrick went over, and then I saw he had great success,” Lachlan said. “I was training with the coach I’d trained with my whole life, and I was in a bit of a hole. I wasn’t improving much and I knew I could get better. I just needed a bit of a change. So when Coach Watson messaged me, I knew I had to take a chance.” Because running is not an especially popular sport in Queensland, there wasn’t much development left for Lachlan. He would have had to move to a different state to continue running at a high level had he not come to Charlottesville.

“He’s an easy going kid. We learned that from day one,” Pete Watson, the head men’s cross country coach, remarked. “He was quiet, just showing up to work and acted like an old guy. The guys love him.” Teammates and those who know Lachlan at UVA have come to know Lachlan as the “the guy that runs with the ’fro.” “It’s kind of my thing now,” he said of his bushy brown locks, laughing. “I can’t really cut it.”

For this fall season, Lachlan commented, “I think we have nine to ten people finishing all the workouts together, which is pretty promising.” With high hopes for the team, Lachlan also will look to fulfill his individual goal to earn All-America first team status at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this season. He will have to finish in the top forty to achieve this. Lachlan hopes the team will win Regional and ACC Championships and place in the top 10 at Nationals. He is still keeping in mind his dream to pursue professional track and field competition in the future.

When given a chance to thank the VAF and donors, Lachlan commented, “I would like to thank the VAF and donors for all the support and help they give to me and all the other student-athletes here at UVA. Without the help we wouldn’t be able to perform at the level we do, day in and day out. Having the support of these great people motivates us and allows us to be the best student- athletes we can be.”

Donor contributions to the VAF Annual Fund support student-athletes such as Lachlan in many ways including scholarships, the Athletics Academic Affairs program and sport-specific operational budgets.