LJ Faircloth is a senior at Lakewood High School who goes above and beyond the necessary requirements of being a student-athlete.
Instead of just playing one sport in the fall portion of the year, Faircloth plays two, because of his love for each.
He was an all-conference and all-region runner for the LHS cross-country team. He was a key member of the Lakewood soccer team, coached by his dad, Jay Faircloth. But it wasn’t the normal father-as-the-coach relationship between the two.
“My dad, ever since my freshman year, made me earn my spot. I had to work hard to get my spot, and work hard to keep it,” said LJ. “But I am grateful for him making me do that. It made me a better athlete and taught me that hard work is essential to succeed.”
As a soccer coach, and as a dad, Jay Faircloth was proud of his son. “He just was the guy we needed him to be on the soccer team,” he said. “He wasn’t a starting player, but he was my first guy off the bench. I don’t think he ever gets tired. One of our players, Matt Wuester, started calling him ‘The Machine’ and it stuck. Because he was like that. Whatever we needed him to do, he did it.”
LJ admitted that soccer was something that he grew to love because of his teammates. “We really were a family,” he said. “It was so much fun to go out there and battle with them and compete.”
As for cross country, Faircloth said that the relationships that are built is what made it special to him.
“You get to meet so many people. Whether you’re a good runner or not, I would tell people to run cross country, because they will meet so many good people that they wouldn’t any other way. I also love the atmosphere and environment of it, getting to run outdoors through beautiful terrain,” he said.
Faircloth is undetermined where he might go to college, but he wishes to do so next year, and to run cross country in college. He does know that he wants to go somewhere around the mountains of North Carolina.
“I have looked into Mars Hill and Appalachian State,” he said. “I’m the kind of person that, if it’s cold, I want it to snow, so I want to be somewhere like that.”
Although it is undetermined where he will end up for his college career, it is certain that with the work ethic that he has, he will be successful, wherever he may go.