Athlete Spotlight: Will Nash of Warner Robins HS

Senior, Will Nash from Warner Robins will leave the school the fastest Demon cross country runner in recent school history according to head coach David (Legend) Erpelding who has headed up the program in the 21st century and beyond. Nash had an awesome race in the 6A championships placing 5th going 16:41. He will move on to compete at the next level for the Mercer Bears only 20 miles away up in Macon.

When did you first start running, and do you recall any of your childhood races?

I first started running in 8th grade to try and get faster going around the bases in baseball. My first race was a 5k the second semester of 8th grade, which I ran in about 30:30.

Was there a certain moment when you realized you'd be able to compete at such a high level?

Since my first year of cross country my sophomore year, I was telling myself I'd break the xc school record before I finished high school. But it never really clicked that I could actually do that and maybe compete at bigger meets until I actually did it at the Asics Invitational this year.

What are some bumps in the road that you've encountered when it comes to training for different events during the season?

I was quarantined for two weeks in mid-September, so I missed a couple of meets and I had to train by myself. Luckily I was able to go out to dirt roads away from people to get in some decent training. It made me worried that I could be quarantined again and miss some important races later in the season.

How did COVID-19 impact your training as you prepared for the season?

I have lucky enough to not know anyone who has gotten badly sick so far, so I was able to really focus on running while at home. I was able to finally get fully healthy with my IT band, then build a nice base going into the season.

Tell us all about your great race in the 5A State championship. Pre-race, the race and the aftermath.

Pre-race, I knew that based on Alexander/Asics, I could at least be in contention to medal if I ran a smart race. I wanted to start off fast because I struggle when we start kicking. When the race starts, I am probably mid-pack making the first turn, so I went wide and made my way to the front. I was able to stay in the top three for most of the race, until the last hill. Afterward, I was able to celebrate some with my team and family, 

Tell us about your post-season cross country race at the Georgia Meet of Champions.

It was a lot of fun. I knew that with the state meet being over I could relax a little and I wanted to enjoy racing in such a great field. The race itself was hard, we went out really fast in the first mile, and I was just trying to hold on to the pace. I ended up missing my pr by a second or so, but I was excited to medal in a race with so many really good runners in it.

Who played key roles in helping you succeed as a runner this season?

My coach David Erpelding, has helped me with everything from race tactics to get through workouts. My girlfriend helped me stay motivated focused on my goals, and my family for driving to far away meets so I could run big races.

You are one of the most improved cross country runners from the 2019 season through the 2020 season. How did you accomplish this?

I was able to get healthy from an IT band injury that kept me back last fall, as well as really dedicating myself to running. I started eating better, lifting and doing core work, running easy on easy days, trying to stay consistent with my workouts, and upping my mileage to 70 miles a week or so by august.

If you had to pick: Track and Field or Cross Country, and why?

Cross country, I enjoy the trail aspect of it, as well as the longer racing distances.

How is the college recruiting process going, and what schools are you looking at?
The recruiting process went very well, I am committed to run for Mercer University next year. I really liked what I heard about the program and how they train seems to be similar to how I train now. They also offer engineering degrees, which was a big thing I was looking for, and Mercer being twenty minutes from where I live is also nice.

Is there another track event you wish you were good at? What is appealing about it?

Steeplechase seems so different from all the other distance events, and almost like a mix between XC and track, so I think I'd really enjoy it.

What are some hobbies and interests you have outside of running?

I enjoy reading books, cooking, and my girlfriend and I have recently started hiking as well, which I have a lot of fun doing.

Who is your role model, and why?

My grandad, instilled a love for history, reading, and sport in me. He was a football, track, and xc coach at my high school, and even though he retired the year I was born, I have gotten to hear so many stories of his former athletes saying great things about him, how hard he worked, and the impact he's had on so many. It's what inspires me to want to be more like him. To be able to run the Richard Fendley Relays named for him during the track season is a huge honor to me.

Everyone has a bucket list, so give us some of the things on your list!

I would like to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, run the Western States, and travel to all of the national parks.

What is the best advice you have received?

Your running and fitness don't depend on any one day in particular. Run your easy days easy, run workouts smart, and be consistent, that's how you get faster.

What is your favorite pre-race snack, tradition, etc.?

I always wear my Fendley Relays shirt from freshman year the day of a race. I also have an Artiken bracelet that says WRHS XCTF that I wear for all my races, though I might have to get a new one when I'm running for a new team next year.

If you could do a sport other than XC/Track, what sport would it be, and why?

Probably soccer, I have a lot of friends that play soccer and I would have tried out had it not been the same time as track.