Ben Pare has always had his priorities straight.
An outstanding distance runner for Methuen High, he still put academics first (he was a Moynihan Scholar/Athlete winner and class valedictorian) and valued the team’s success, whether in cross country or track, as more important than his own.
As an upcoming senior at UMass Lowell, Pare has continued along the same line. A Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference pick last fall, he finished his junior year with a 3.95 GPA and he’s still more concerned about how the team fares than himself.
Perhaps partly for that reason, Pare was recently named one of two captains for the UMass Lowell cross country team this fall. He was the team’s fifth man most of last fall but he should move up this year.
We caught up with Pare between a busy summer of working and training to go Around the Horn.
Were you selected as a captain by your teammates or coach (Gary Gardner) and how big of a surprise was it?
“The coach named me, because of the hard work I’ve put in and because I’m a senior. It was a little bit of a surprise, but I was hoping for it. It’s always an honor to be a captain.”
UMass Lowell has traditionally made the nationals, but last year it did not make it — how disappointing was that?
“It was tough, a humbling experience. But we’re trying to make up for it this year by winning the America East Conference.”
Is that a realistic goal, to finish first in America East in your first year in Division 1?”
“From what we know, it’s a pretty level field, so we have a chance. Everyone’s good, but there are no great teams. We could finish anywhere from first to sixth.