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How Craig Nowak dominated collegiate cross country

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Photo by: Alex Aldaco

Cy Woods Logo

When you ask most people at Cy Woods who Craig Nowak is they will not know who he is. They don’t know how he one of the best runners in the nation, and went to Cy Woods, and they most defiantly don’t know his story.Craig Nowak born on April 20, 1994 started his amazing career at Goodson middle school, where he first showed of his talent. “I first meet him in 6th grade. When asked to run the mile or anything in P.E. He would be the first one done daily. In fitness gram he always asked what the record was and tried to beat it. He never ran with the crowd; he just ran hard.’’ Said coach Griffin, his middle coach.Even though Craig was born with god given talent he had to work hard every day when he was young to get where he wanted to be. ‘’Nowak is the first runner that had me literally using the word Fight! Meaning, he fought himself and his pain in every run whether it be practice or competition in a meet. He was so determined to push himself and improve daily that he was fighting his personal record and self-goals. I worked his tail off in practice and he would rise to the occasion daily in getting faster.’’ Said coach Griffin.After middle school Craig went to high school at Cy Woods were he started to realize how good of a runner he is. ‘‘Once I started winning races in high school and getting letters from colleges it started to hit me that I could potentially do something big with it.’’ Said Craig.Craig was invited to many prestigious races around the country and won one of the best award a runner could get, the Gatorade runner of the year. “winning that award was a huge honor! I think it helped open my eyes to wanting to do something big on the national stage.’’Craig did get a lot of success in high school for himself, but he also got Cy Woods success of their own by winning 4 straight State Titles “Craig put Cy-Woods on the map. We had a few girls to make it to state but not for the boys, Craig was the true beginning of the boy’s side of the program.’’ Said coach Zarate. After his years in high school he went to Oklahoma State to continue his career. Where he had to adjust and grow as a runner. ‘‘My biggest challenges were having to adjust to training with so many guys who were just as good or better than I. It was definitely a challenge to learn how to be smart with my training and look at the big picture than going all out to say neck and neck with that person.’’Even though in college he was going against the best runners in the nation he rose to the occasion. Winning the big 12 all 4 years, winning the national championship in cross country, placing 3 in the nation in cross country, and breaking a 4-minute mile in track.Even with all the success he still maintains to keep close with his friends and coaches from high school and college. ‘‘I have stayed extremely close with my former coaches and friends. They are by far the closest group of friends I’ve had, and it feels like we are just as close now as we were back in high school and college.’’Craig comes every summer and makes a appearance for the cross country team, and gives the team advice about what it takes to be a great runner. ‘‘Every time he shows up I feel like there is a stir of energy that results from him being here.’’ said coach Zarate. Now Craig is running professionally for Asics while living and training with a group of other pros in Greenville, South Carolina.“people who had made a huge difference in my career have been my parents, coach Zarate at Cypress Woods, coach Dave Smith at Oklahoma state and all my great friends and teammates who have pushed and believe in me since day one.’’

 

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