Coach Spangler and the University of Florida men's cross country program added another Sunshine State talent this weekend with the addition of Miami Sunset's Nick Diaz. Diaz, the 2013 4A Cross Country Finals champion, joins fellow South Florida distance runner Ryan Rodriguez of Belen Jesuit as the latest commitments to the Gators. We caught up with him to talk about the recruiting process, his decision, goals for the 2014 season, and beyond.
What was the recruiting process like for you?
The recruiting process for me was great. My decision wasn't the easiest one, but I had a great experience on all of my visits.
Where else did you visit/consider?
I visited and also highly considered FSU. They have a great program and a great group of guys which made my decision on going to UF more difficult.
What sold you on the Gators?
What sold me on the gators was the amazing staff, facilities, and the great experience I had at my official visit.
Ryan Rodriguez of Belen Jesuit committed earlier this month. How much did his committment impact you?
It's great knowing that I have another guy from Miami that I know of well going up to Gainesville to be a Bator along with me. Ryan is a great guy and I could really see him as a future teammate which is just another reason why I'm committing to being a Gator.
I know several other Florida guys went on that visit with you. Do you see any other area athletes comitting in the future and are you going to work on recruiting or leave that up tot he coaches?
I think there should be a couple of more guys committing. I will definitely help out or talk to any recruit that has any questions about UF, but I still need to stay focused on the rest of my last cross country season as a Knight.
How did the new signing period impact you to decide early and how much of a relief is it to have this decision made and now you can focus on the state series, as well as track, and just enjoy it?
I thought it was great news that they brought back early signing. I feel like now that I have committed and that I am going to early sign this November there has been a huge weight taken off my shoulders on what college I am going to and now I can focus on the rest of my senior year as a runner withought having to worry about what im going to do for college. I still have many goals for the rest of this cross country season and this upcoming track season.
What are you looking forward to most about wearing the orange and blue? What are the goals?
I am looking forward to the most getting to know the team and the coach a lot more.I am also looking foward to seeing what the university and running program has to offer for me. I really haven't thought about any goals for next year yet, but as this summer comes closer I'll start knowing what my goals will be as Gator.
You've had a successful high school cross country and track career what will you remember the most and how do you want to be remembered?
As my high school cross country and track career comes to an end I think I'll remember all the hard work and obstacles I have overcome to become not only the runner but the person I am today, I'll remember all the great memories and fun times I have had with my teammates, and all of the advice that both Coach Shaw and Coach Castaing have instilled in me. I would just like to remembered as a humble runner that worked very hard and stayed really focused in order to be where I'm at today.
Miami Sunset Coach Alex Shaw took the time to share his thoughts on Diaz and his big decision.
"Once Nick graduates from Miami Sunset he will be by far the most success runner to come through our program, but that is NOT what makes him so SPECIAL. He is a student of the sport and has always demonstrated a great deal of respect for the ones that came before him and the ones that will come once his gone. He is an outstanding young man that has only shown us the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to his running ability. The best is yet to come! As for UF, I think Coach Spangler is putting together a great recruiting class that will compete for an SEC Championship with the leadership of their two horses (Jimmy & Eddie). 2015 looks like its going to be a very special season for the Gators! Nick will be truly one I will never forget and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to have coached him during his high school career."