Diaz Named Gatorade Florida Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year

2013 was a great year for Diaz. All he did was win. He dismantled South Florida competition in his first three meets and then showed a gutsy performance to take the flrunners.com Invitational Boys Race of Champions. Diaz followed that up with another win in South Florida and a personal best time of 15:07.83 to finish sixth at the FSU Invitational/Pre-State. He then rattled off conference, district, and regional championships en route to his first state championship at the 4A Cross Country Finals. That is nine wins in ten races if you are counting.

Following the regular season, Diaz traveled with his Sunset teammates to the Nike Southeast Regional in North Carolina. They did not advance, but Diaz did. His ninth place overall finish was impressive, but due to other individuals qualifying with their teams, he was bumped up to the fifth highest finisher and earned a trip to Portland, Oregon for Nike Nationals where he finished 79th against the top individuals and teams in the country. For his success, Diaz was named the Gatorade Florida Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. He was presented with the award by Sunset Athletic Director (Coach Rivera) as well as Principal (Dr. Cox)  and the school is displaying a abnner in the gym and presenting the award again during their February Pep Rally. We caught up with Nick to talk about the season, what the award means to him, and his goals for the 2014 track season.

How would you sum up your junior cross country season?

This past cross country season was amazing. It took a lot of hard work and listening to my coach to accomplish everything I was able to accomplish this past cross country season. There was definitely a lot of struggles and soreness along the way but I was able to get through them and finally have one of the best cross country seasons I have had so far in my life.
 
What does it mean to be listed with some of the former athletes who have won like Andres Arroyo, Jimmy Clark, Matt Mizereck, and Brian Atkinson?

The former athletes who have won this award in the past have gone to college and continue to succeed in what they want to do which is running. I just believe this is a sign that maybe I could be there some day and continue to gain all of these amazing accomplishments that I will continue to work hard for. This award means to me that you are not only getting recognized in how hard you work for running but also your  education. It is just an honor to have Gatorade pick me and recognize me to get this award for Florida.

Did you ever think you'd win an award like this? This really does show that hard work pays off.

Yes it really does. It's awesome to get recognized on all of the hard work that you have put into just one season. There are so many other athletes in Florida that deserve that award just as much as I do and to be honest I really was not sure if I would get this award because of that reason. I knew there was a chance and I am glad, along with my coach, that I was able to get this award knowing other student athletes deserved it just as much as I did.

How does this motivate you going into the outdoor season?

This award motivates me to keep working harder and make sure to give it my all in every race that I run. Awards like these show me why all of the sacrifices and dedication I put into this sport is all worth it in the end. My goals for outdoor track are to go under the 4:15 mark for the 1600 meters this year and 9:20 for the 3200 meters.

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