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Nico Young After Leading NAU To Their Sixth NCAA Cross Country Title In Seven Years

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“It’s not chance. It’s not talent on the team. It’s what we talk about and how we train. That’s never going to change. Regardless of what athletes we have, we’re always going to be able to perform within some contained range – whether that’s winning or 5th place, it’s always going to be something that we’re proud of.”

My guest for today’s episode is Nico Young. He is a star for Northern Arizona University’s track and cross country team. He just finished second individually in the NCAA Cross Country Championships but led the Lumberjacks to their sixth national title in the last seven years. Before even arriving in Flagstaff, he was the sparkplug that kicked off Newbury Park High School’s cross country and track dominance when he ran 9:05 for 3200 meters as a sophomore and then won a bunch of state and national titles as a junior and senior. It’s been a great progression for him. He’s lowered his personal best to 13:11 for the 5000m, which puts him at No. 3 on the all-time collegiate list. He was third at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in the event and then took eighth at the U.S. Outdoor Championships 5000m final. All of this and he’s still just 20 years old.

We touch on a bit of his progression, how he’s handled that rise in an era of social media, what makes this NAU team special and also what it was like coming out as gay before the start of the cross country season. I appreciate Nico’s openness in this conversation and I’m looking forward to seeing how fast he goes this weekend at the BU Season Opener, where he’s the top seed in the men’s 5000m.

You can now listen to our conversation on The CITIUS MAG Podcast. Catch the latest episode of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.

nico young nau cross country


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