Lexi Mogensen: Taking Things in Great Strides


Norhan Zouak, Staff Writer

Most athletes see running as a punishment, but there are some who genuinely enjoy it and fewer who are damn good at it. A track meet is an experience in itself. As sprinters, jumpers, and throwers prepare for their events amid the chaos, a girl is seen talking with her grandpa, biting her nails, and fiddling with the tiger-print ribbon in her hair. As the officials call for the 800-meter, runners quickly stretch, lunge, or jump before getting set. The pistol goes off and the cheers begin, but nothing compares to the booming “Run, Lexi, Run!” chants from two proud parents.

Running is not a typical sport that one takes up at a young age and practices once or twice a week. When Lexi Mogensen (’21) was in fifth grade, she decided to run in the Tenafly 5K with all her friends, oblivious to the significance it would soon have on her life. She ended up placing first in her age group, the first of many firsts. “The rush that I got from finishing the race, seeing what I had accomplished and knowing I went out there and got it for myself” is what Mogensen credits to have sparked her love for running. She continued to participate in races, but was more focused on soccer and basketball. That was until she joined the spring track team her freshman year. 

In Mogensen’s prolific first season with the track team, she made first team all league for the 800m, second all league for the 4×400 relay, fifth in the 800m at the Bergen Meet of Champions (BMOC), fifth in the section 800m, and tenth in the group 800m. From then on, more and more accomplishments would ensue.

In her sophomore year, Mogensen diverted and focused all of her attention on running. During her first cross-country season, she made honorable mention all county and placed ninth in the section. She also joined the winter track team, achieving all league, all county, and all section—all for the 800m. In her second spring season, she ranked third in the county at BMOC and eighth in the section, and made all league. As Mogensen became engulfed in running, she especially appreciated the camaraderie of the team and the lively, positive environment. “Everyone is always working hard and cheering each other on, and we all work together to get through workouts and races,” she said.

As a junior, Mogensen became varsity captain of the cross-country team. Though the team was small, it allowed everyone to grow closer and closer throughout the seasons as they would “just bond over working out together and share stories on long runs.” As for her winter season, she won state groups in the 4×400 relay, second all league for the 800m, and all county for the 1000m. Unfortunately, Mogensen’s spring track season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although she cannot practice on the track, Mogensen considers herself to be extremely lucky to be able to continue her training during this quarantine. “I have been doing the workouts my coaches are sending me and adding to them to make them more difficult,” said Mogensen. She has also incorporated more strength training and better recovery in her training. As for racing, she has entered herself in several virtual 5Ks so she does not lose that competitive edge and has something viable to train for.

Mogensen considers her greatest moment as a runner came her sophomore year at the BMOC, where the top runners in Bergen County, regardless of what section or league they are in, come together and compete. Having never run against many of the participants and being in an unfamiliar racing environment, she was extremely anxious and panicked. In the end, she fought off her nerves and pulled off a great feat, coming out with a personal record and a top three spot in the county. “I was proud because I pushed myself to the limits and ignored all the negative thoughts,” said Mogensen. “I earned my spot on the podium and made my parents and grandparents proud.” And behind every great athlete is a great support system. In Mogensen’s case, her biggest supporter is her grandpa, who can always be seen at her meets, even if it means driving to the city during rush hour or getting up at five in the morning to travel to a rural trail. “He is also my biggest motivation because he wants to see me succeed and I want to make him proud,” said Mogensen.

Lexi Mogensen is truly an exemplary runner and a wonderful representation of Tenafly athletics, and she is destined to go the distance (pun intended).