Posted on Jul 15
Team NB's Jack Bolas on the Outdoor Nationals Experience
Team New Balance's own Jack Bolas, who ran 3:38.39 in the 1500m at the Oslo, Norway stop in the Diamond League, ran at Outdoor Nationals twice during his high school years. Bolas, a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was a four-time all-American at the University of Wisconsin. Bolas was lucky enough to run both as an individual and as part of a relay at Nationals – memories he cherishes deeply. The 23-year-old answered some of our questions after returning from competition in Europe.
NewBalance.com: When you think back over your experience at Outdoor Nationals, what is the biggest thing that stands out in your mind?
Jack Bolas: I think one of the coolest things about Nationals for me was being able to experience it with my team. I was lucky because not only did I run the Distance Medley Relay with 3 other guys, but because my high school is so close to Greensboro, the entire track team came out to support us. It was incredible being able to compete with my closest teammates while having everyone pulling for us.
NewBalance.com: As a high schooler, you don't usually get to face so many great athletes at one time. Did racing at Nationals help prepare you for college racing and the pros?
JB: Yes, I'd say that's certainly the case, maybe more so my junior year when I ran the open mile. I still remember, I raced Jeff See, Craig Miller, and Justin Switzer, all guys that I raced several times in college. Coincidentally, we were all in the Big 10 conference, so we saw a lot of each other. The mile was one of the most competitive races I ran in high school and gave me a perspective on what college running would bring.
NewBalance.com: Did you learn any lessons from Outdoor Nationals?
JB: I learned about the existence of great runners nationwide. Outdoor Nationals and the Foot Locker Cross Country championships were the only races I ran outside North Carolina while I was in high school. Nationals gave me a chance to race against the best guys in the country and made me realize the amount of talent in the country.
NewBalance.com: When you competed at Outdoor Nationals, what were your emotions like – did you go in nervous, confident, excited? What did you think of the experience?
JB: My Junior year at Nationals, I was basically just nervous the whole time. I didn't know what to expect and I was scared to be competing against the nation's best in the mile. I think the next year, my emotions had changed a little and I was more confident. I was finishing up my best year of high school and most importantly, I was toeing the line with my teammates. I was definitely nervous to be anchoring our team in the Distance Medley Relay, but it was a great feeling to have the whole team counting on me, and attack the race with the pure expectation of running my best, no pressure of time or place.
NewBalance.com: If you could give one piece of information to a high schooler competing next week, what would that be?
JB: I'd say make the most of the opportunity. There are only a few meets during the year that allow you to race national competition. It's an experience that sets you up to run some of the best races of your life and it prepares you for the college scene.
NewBalance.com: Racing both individually and with a team, you kind of got both sides of the spectrum. What made racing with a team different and unique when compared to individually? Was it the fact that you've been with the guys, training for so long, that just to finally race and get there is a treat in itself?
JB: Racing as part of the DMR team my senior year remains one of the top moments of my running career. It's a special experience anytime that you get to compete for a championship as a team. It's one of the things that makes cross country so exciting. And in track, you can get a similar feeling in the relays. I still remember everything from that night; I'll try not to get too nostalgic. But it was senior year, last race of high school, and I get to finish it all off sharing a baton with 3 of my best friends and teammates. We finished 4th, which may not sound spectacular, but it far exceeded our expectations and we felt like champions that night. Something I'll never forget and I encourage the high schoolers to try out a relay at Nationals if they ever get the chance.