In her first season of Cross Country, Nicole Dimercurio finished 17th at her region meet in a time of 20:26....impressive but not ground breaking. Since that race, this young runner has discovered a fire within her that has led her to the number 6 spot on the current 1600m ranking list as well as a top 8 finish at the Coaches Invitational as well as a win at the Cobb Gwinnett Challenge race. We had a couple of questions for Nicole.
GATFXC:. How long have you been running?
Nicole: In 6th grade I ran my first race with my dad. It was a local church race that my dad was running and he wanted me to give it a try. I tried it and man was it hard! I hadn't ever trained and I was so happy when I was done. After the race people began coming up to me and asking what grade I was in and I would reply only 6th and they would tell me I had a chance to be a very good runner in the future. Comments like those really encouraged me to want to run a few more races in my middle school years but it never dawned on me that if I actually trained or ran even a little bit I could be an even better runner. In one of the races I ran in 8th grade people began telling me about Cross Country. They would tell me that Coach Karen was a really good coach and I needed to give it a try. I listened to them and went to practices over the summer and now I have been running for 9 months consistently.
GATFXC: Was the win at the Cobb Gwinnett Challenge a surprise for you or did you go in thinking you had a shot at winning the 1600?
Nicole: My win at the Cobb Gwinnett Challenge was definitely a surprise. There were so many good girls there but I also knew I had been training very hard and that I had a goal [which was to get an elite time] and I really wanted to meet it no matter what it took. I have to say that when I crossed the finish line first I was utterly surprised. It was a real confidence booster to meet my goal and to actually come in first.
GATFXC: What do you attribute your early success to?
Nicole: During the Cross Country season I had a really hard time breaking 22 minutes. Every race Coach Karen would tell me that that was all I needed to do and he would always encourage me. Finally at the Coach Wood Invitational I broke not only 22 but also 21. Coach Karen was thrilled and from then on out pushed me a lot harder then he had before and I am very thankful for that. When the Cross Country season ended my mom played a huge part in my training and in keeping me healthy. She would take me for long runs, watch what I was eating, making sure I drank enough water and was eating enough protein. This really helped me when it became track season because I was physically ready to run faster than I ever had before. My current Coach, Coach Johnson, saw that I was up for the challenge of becoming the best runner I can be and is working with me every step of the way.
GATFXC: What goals have you set for yourself this season?
Nicole: I want to continue to improve and hopefully make it to state.
GATFXC: What\'s your favorite workout?
Nicole: Does anyone have a favorite workout? But if I had to choose one I would chose a pyramid of 200's, 400s', 600's, and 800's and then of course going from 800's back down. I really enjoy this workout because you can compare your times from the first set [going up the pyramid] and hopefully improve on the set going down.
GATFXC: Favorite pre meet meal?
Nicole: I would definitely have to say homemade French bread pizza.
GATFXC: How many miles a week are you running?
Nicole: It really depends on the workouts we are running during the week, but I would say 30 plus miles.
GATFXC: Is there an athlete that you look to for inspiration...someone you admire that you\'ve looked to for inspiration?
Nicole: There are so many athletes I look up to. The ones I look up most to would be Lauren Postma and Jackie Drouin. I look up to Lauren Postma because she is the best runner on my Cross Country team and during the season her running made me want to run faster. I look up to Jackie Drouin because wow, she is an amazing runner, I had heard a lot about her during the cross country season and ran some races she was in, but I never actually got to see her run. Recently at the Collins Hill Eagle Icebreaker I saw her run in the DMR and wow, she is amazing. I really don't think there is another word to describe her. These girls really encourage me to keep on running and I am very grateful for them.
While Nicole holds the #6 ranking in the 1600m, she is currently ranked 5th in her region when one includes Jacke Drouin\'s 5:04 1600m mark set at NIN. Once again, Region 7-AAAAA has a log jam of good runner s in the distance races and the addition of Nicole makes the field only that much tougher. Good luck this season and keep your eye on the Region 7-AAAAA finals as it could be a wild one.
Watch for more fresh faces features in the coming weeks.