Liam Calhoun pictured at his signing day with mother, Jessica, and three youngers sisters; Caelyn, Alana, Rian.
Liam Calhoun, who rewrote the running record book at RHAM, is packing up his racing shoes and headed to Middletown.
“I can’t wait to continue my academic and athletic journey at Wesleyan University,” Calhoun posted on social media. “Thanks to all my coaches, friends, teachers, and family who have supported me along the way. Wesleyan is the place to be!”
Calhoun said many factors went into his decision – taking academics, athletics, music, and family into consideration.
“Wesleyan just fit the mold of all of that. I love Middletown. It’s a great college town and they have great academics,” added Calhoun, who was hooked after his official visit. “I knew when I walked out of [Wesleyan] that it was the right place. When you have that feeling, you just have to trust it.”
The Andover native is leaving high school with a mountain of accolades.
After breaking the school’s mile mark as a junior, he returned for a senior season with a goal to shatter even more records. He re-broke his own mile record along with setting new marks in the 600 meters (1:27.36), 800 meters (2:02.21), 1000 meters (2:41.51), 1600 meters (4:18.89) 3200 meters (9:49.62), the cross country 5K (6:26), and was on the outdoor track and field team that broke the 4x800 relay record.
Calhoun was also named as one of RHAM’s two senior scholar-athletes, earning the distinguished honor with Molly Bellmore.
To say he made a lasting impression would be an understatement.
“Liam is one of the finest human beings that I have ever had. Not only is he a good runner, but he is a good person,” RHAM cross country coach Paul Steiner said. “I’ve had some great kids over the years, but Liam is right up there at the top. He is always focused on what he wants to accomplish and I think he ran some of those events just so he could break the record.”
Steiner first met Calhoun at a baseball camp when Calhoun was in the fifth grade. After playing soccer in the fall as a freshman, Calhoun joined Steiner’s cross country team as a sophomore and quickly moved up the leaderboards.
“He never took a day off, every single day he was a leader,” added Steiner, who was also the longtime baseball coach at RHAM prior to stepping down last offseason.
Steiner recalled a time when Calhoun informed him that he may be late to practice due to a dentist appointment, but added that he was going to “run to his appointment” so he could try and make it back in time to practice.
Calhoun’s dedication not only plastered his name all over the school’s record books, it also made him a state champion.
Following a top-five finish in the cross country championships in the fall, he then had a 4th place showing in the 3200 meters and a runner-up finish in the 1600 meters at the Class M Indoor Track and Field finals in the winter. His senior year culminated by winning the Class MM state championship in the 3200 meters, winning the event by nearly eight second at Willowbrook Park in New Britain on June 1.
Steiner said that Calhoun’s goal-oriented approach to everything that he does will suit him well at the next level, adding “He’s already thinking about what he needs to do to be successful [in college]. He’ll do whatever the coach needs him to do and that is why he is successful.”
Calhoun said it is bittersweet leaving his hometown roots, where he literally and figuratively tore up the roots on the cross country trails.
“I will miss the environments of RHAM,” said Calhoun. “RHAM breeds success and they have great athletes. I will definitely miss the team and the guys on the team. We had a huge bond that we will share forever.”
His three younger sisters – Caelyn, Alana, and Rian – are still at RHAM, so staying close to his family was an important element when he made his final collegiate decision.
Calhoun goes from being a running Raptor to a soaring Cardinal at his next location in Middletown, joining a program led by cross country and track distance coach Leo Mayo. The Cardinals are coming off top-ten finishes in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional in back-to-back seasons.
Calhoun said he is looking forward to the next challenge of a longer distance in college where they run a competitive 8k instead of high school’s 5k, adding, “I wanted to be on the team that I was going to be challenge and I feel like a sport like running and track and field you can go to a school like Wesleyan and be challenged right away.”
He has yet to declare a major and said he may end up double majoring. He is an accomplished guitarist and participated in RHAM’s band, so he wants music to remain a part of his life in college and beyond.
“Wesleyan is the definition of a liberal arts school, so they are really open,” said Calhoun. “I don’t have to be narrowed into one focus. I’m excited to dive in and let my interest fly freely.”
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin