Nick Pugh Runs for His Life

Posted on November 15, 2011

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            “Cross Country is definitely one of the more challenging sports. It’s basically you versus yourself, and there are no breaks or timeouts. When a race starts, there’s no easing into it, you have to decide from the very beginning whether you’re going to win it or not. Then you settle into a pace you think you can’t possibly hold, and you keep it there, surging when someone is on your tail, and easing off when you get room to breathe. It’s just you, the mud, and sixteen minutes of physical torture. You don’t necessarily have to have the strongest legs or the biggest lungs– the person who is willing to put himself thought the most pain is usually the person who wins,” stated Junior Nicholas Pugh. Nick is hardworking, self-determined, and a leader to say the least.  

Nick Pugh displaying his hard work and determination as he runs in a Cross Country meet.

            Nick was born in Bethesda, Maryland. Since then, he has moved eleven times. Nick is part of a military family, which you may have guessed. He has lived in a variety of places, such as Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Hawaii, California, and most recently, Germany.

            Moving to Carteret County just this year, Nick had to meet new friends. He claims that at the beginning of the season, he “soon  formed great friendships on the team that exist both within and outside of cross country.” Coach Patrick Blackstock claims, “Nick has led our team by example, always working hard no matter the workout or weather conditions.  This season he had to “fit in” to a new school and team, and its senior leaders. Next year, Nick will have to be more of a vocal leader and well as the team’s leader by example.”

            While in Germany he ran Cross Country his sophmore year at Patch American High School. You may wonder, was Cross Country more difficult or different in Europe? Nick says, “In Europe the competition was a bit steeper. I was competing in the highest division and the runners were much more serious. I was second on the team and usually came in second or third at school meets. My team won Europeans not in a landslide as it was here, but in a one point tie break. There was even competition within the team for a spot on the Varsity Squad.” Coach Blackstock claims, “Nick had to adjust to the heat and humidity of eastern NC and to our flat cross country courses.  He was able to adjust to both of these challenging conditions.” 

            Clearly, Nick has a lot of potential and dedication. Coach Blackstock claims, “Nick Pugh is highly motivated and helped push our boys team to match his intensity throughout the season.  In the end, he made everyone else around him better.” Some of Nick’s biggest accomplishments are that he was 8th in the State in Middle School, 14th in Europe for Cross Country, 12th in Europe for the 2 mile, Conference Champion, Regional Runner-Up, and 3rd place overall at the Twin Bridges road race in Morehead.

            Nick’s favorite thing about Cross Country is “the feeling one gets at the peak of the season, right before Championship Races, when you feel like you fly across the ground, effortlessly, but check your watch and see that you’re running a sub 5 mile.”

             But Cross Country isn’t Nick’s only sport. Nick describes Cross Country as the sport that “lured [him] in as a way to keep in shape for tennis.” He says that Cross Country “became a way to relieve stress. If you’ve had a really terrible day or you’re really angry about something, you can just go for a run, and, even though your run will suck, you feel fantastic afterwards. In addition, on longer runs the endorphins really get flowing creating what is known widely as a runners high.”

            Nick’s main goal this season was “just to place top 10 at regionals and top 5 at conference in addition to breaking 16:30.” Nick ended up coming in 2nd at regionals and 1st at conference. He only missed 16:30 by 3 seconds. In the future, Nick hopes to win states his senior year. He wants to place top 30 at Footlocker Regionals and get into the low 15 minutes or high 14 minutes by college, run a marathon and 50 miler, and get a high end scholarship from a division one school for Cross Country. He hopes to attend the Naval Academy and depending on his acceptance, he says he will “probably spend a year in a third-world country, learning the customs and helping to improve quality of life with a non-profit organization.” Whether it is Cross Country or academics, Nick has big dreams. With his hard work, determination, and leadership, it is apparent he won’t stop till he reaches the top.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Reported by Tanner Simon

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