Athlete of the Issue: Leo McMahon


Ian Bayless '22

Leo during a cross country race at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

“Wonderful team leader,” “Enthusiastic runner,” and “Leading with speed.” These are some words members of the boys varsity cross country team use to describe captain Leo McMahon ’19.

Leo started his varsity running career when he came to Groton in fourth form, slowly working his way up the ranks. During his fifth form year, Leo was a consistent runner and moved between number two and three during the season. He is currently running on the number one spot in varsity. Leo has already managed to run his personal best time this year at BB&N, at 16 minutes and 38 seconds, not far from 3 minutes per kilometer, in a 5k race. During the ISL championships last weekend, racing against 16 schools, Leo finished 10th with a time of 17:35.

Besides leading the cross country team this fall, Leo plans to participate in winter running and spring track and field. Leo said of his passion for running, “It embodies that spirit of doing something really hard, and overcoming the obstacle, the experience is almost similar to Groton itself.” He also enjoys the team camaraderie and talking to friends on long runs.

Leo’s team members and coaches had great things to say about him. Mr. Capen said, “He and Mr. Kohn kick off our weekly intervals by zipping around the lower fields with fleet feet, and he always runs and finishes off with a smile.” Teammate Tyler Weisberg ’22 added, “Leo is an enthusiastic and wonderful team leader who is always helping the newcomers [get] up to speed.” Co-captain Gus Vrratos ’19 said, “Cross country remains one of the most cohesive teams on campus, and Leo plays a large part in his leadership role to maintain this about the team and motivates us as we train to run fast.”

Leo acknowledged the ups and downs of running. When a run doesn’t go well, he experiences physical and mental pain. However, when a run goes very well, he is filled with exhilaration or euphoria in the form of a “runner’s high” after crossing the finish line.

While Leo has decided that he will not run competitively in the future, he will continue to run recreationally. His immediate focus, however, is on the New England Championships on November 10th. All in all, Leo is looking forward to finishing his final season with the cross country team. He is “impressed to see how that team has progressed since the beginning of the year” and “looks forward to ending the season on a good note.”