Always One Step Ahead of the Crowd

Makuei Lueth’s inspiring yet undisclosed life story


JD XC parent photographers

Makuei Lueth taking the lead at Cottonwood Complex pre-region meet.

The man with the heart to excel.

Bang! You hear the crowd cheering as boys from different parts of Utah culminate for a 5K, running as fast as their bodies allow them to. Makuei Lueth immediately catches your eye as he takes the lead at Cottonwood Complex pre-region. He stands at 6’6, fairly atypical for a cross country runner. You see the determination in his eyes, non-stop running, faster than any boy on the 2020 JD XC team. Not only is Makuei an astonishing racer, he is also a passionate team player on the basketball court, but Makuei isn’t your ordinary student athlete. There is another side to Makuei that only few may know.

Makuei Lueth taking a breather while at a basketball game in California. (Makuei Lueth’s Instagram)

Senior Makuei Lueth first came to the United States at the age of 16, recruited from his homeland, Uganda, Africa, to play one of his many passions, basketball. He first arrived in Pasadena, California where he attended Renaissance Academy for a year and from there he moved in with his older brother in Draper, Utah where he now attends Juan Diego Catholic High School.

With this great opportunity to study and play in the United States, also came some great adversities. “It’s always difficult to leave your home for somewhere you’ve never been before,” Lueth said. “I miss my mom and sister, mostly just being around them has been the hardest on me. We still communicate though, I make sure to talk to them at least two or three times a week,” Lueth continued. Lueth is a family-oriented guy and being without his family has been rough, but despite not having his family with him physically he still pushes himself far and beyond to do exceptionally well in school and his extracurricular activities to make them undeniably proud.

Makuei Lueth with his mother and two sisters back in Uganda. (Makuei Lueth’s courtesy)

Lueth has always been grateful for the opportunities he has been given, and with each one given to him, he maximizes its potential. “My childhood was like any other of an African kid’s hardship here and there. Being born in Sudan, a war-torn country like that, made me grow as a kid to think beyond my age when I moved to Uganda, “ Lueth said. “I felt safe and ready to maximize every opportunity I got and it just grew in me that there is always something better in the worst situations,” Lueth. Unlike most kids, Lueth was afflicted to have been born in the ruins of Sudan’s war which could’ve stopped him there, but he did not. At the age of 16, Lueth was able to receive a student VISA to come study and play in the United States. “The thing that kept me going is, why me? I looked at the positive side of it as why I was able to choose among many kids who were, fortunately, better than me,” said Lueth. As shocked and anxious as he was, he will forever have Uganda as his second home as he is studying here in the states

JD XC boys racing out as the gun is fired. (JD XC parent photographers)



Surprisingly, the change in academics in school has not been a struggle for Lueth. “I learned British English back home so it wasn’t hard adjusting to American standards, ” Lueth said. “The only difference was the way of teaching, there were a lot of devices that are used to facilitate learning but to me it was troubling,” Lueth continued. Lueth strives to do better in school in light of his struggles but just like that in his sports, he conquers it. He isn’t the one to let his grades flop to the ground, as his top priority is to get those A’s. The difference is that Lueth is willing to put in the extra work that most students wouldn’t.

I always have the confidence that I can do anything if I put my mind to it”

— Makuei Lueth

Despite Lueth being a prodigious runner, he claims this 2020 XC season is his first one ever! “I have always loved running but it’s my first year competing and it has been great,” Lueth said. “I see Makuei as the best runner, not because he’s the fastest but because he’s the most willing to put in the work.” sophomore PHL Reilly said. “Every practice he’s ready to go above and beyond to become faster,” Reilly continued. The coach and teammates alike have been stunned by his running and are fascinated by his dedication to the sport. “Honestly, I never knew I could run competitions for cross country but I always have the confidence that I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” Lueth continued.

We strive in life to make better versions of ourselves for the best of others like family”

— Makuei Lueth

Lueth has shone in the eyes of his teachers, coaches, peers, and more in the short time he has been here at Juan Diego. Despite such a new challenge, Leuth had overcome this adversity to become a stellar athlete and student. “We strive in life to make better versions of ourselves for the best of others like family,” Lueth finished.

Makuei Lueth puts in work on the track (Maya Lentz)