Nic Jacobsen: After seven years of training and racing with great friends, it is tough to choose just one. A few that stand out are: Going to the State Meet in XC in 2012 and 2013 with the whole team, getting 2nd Place at the 2A State Championships 3200m in 2014, just barely missing an XC State Meet berth as a team at 2A Region 4 in 2014, and winning the FLRYA State Title at 3000m back in Middle School.
FLR: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
NJ: Some of the local South Florida kids who I have raced since middle school have been both great competitors and great friends. Gaby Correa from ransom Everglades, Joel Lacy from Calvary Christian, and the whole Pine Crest crew have always been great to compete against at Regional and local meets. In Palm Beach County, Ilio Sanchez of John I Leonard, Tucker Hindle of Boca Christian, and The Spanish River guys were always tough racers.
FLR: What was your greatest accomplishment?
NJ: Getting 2nd place in the 3200m at State in 2014 and setting a school record in the 800m (the last even I would have ever thought I would set a record in) in front of my home fans on Senior Night.
FLR: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
NJ: I would not change anything about my high school career. While I made lasting friendships, grew tremendously as an athlete, and had some incredible moments, I also went through long periods of disappointing performances and frustration. However, it was only through those difficulties that I learned how I needed to approach the sport from both a training standpoint and a psychological standpoint. Thus, in a way it was necessary for me to have the good moments AND the bad moments, and I would not change any of it.
FLR: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
NJ: I believe my biggest obstacle was myself. To be candid, It was difficult to run quick times at a very young age and during a very immature time in my life. As I saw how passionate the FlRunners community was about the sport, I too became incredibly passionate about the sport and immersed myself into the running world. Consequently, I think I got far ahead of myself and tried to force performances that I thought I logically should be running as opposed to letting them happen naturally and enjoying the process of getting there.
FLR: What will you miss the most?
NJ: While I definitely will not miss training in the heat and on the concrete of South Florida streets, I will miss the relationships I formed through track and cross country. I will miss my coaches, my teammates, training partners, and competitors for always instilling the fire in me to run.
FLR: What advice you would give to younger athletes?
NJ: Free yourself of expectations and love the sport for what it is. It is easy to get caught up in times and places and lose sight of the simplicity of running. While I am a tremendously competitive person and I agree that the objective of racing is to run fast and win races, only now do I realize that you will never compete to the best of your ability if you constantly obsess over your goals. You must learn to love training first and take small steps to reach your goals as opposed to trying to force it to all happen at once. Be selfish. You are your own barometer and you can only control your own preparation. Worry about getting the best out of yourself, because you cannot control anyone else around you.
FLR: What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
NJ: I have been tremendously lucky to have had coaches and mentors in John and Stacy O'Connell, Craig Tipton, Andrew Owens, Robert Overby, and Eddie Ernest-Jones. While my coaches cared about my success as an athlete, they also cared about all my endeavors in life. For their continued belief in me and steadfast support, I will always be grateful. I owe a great deal to them and know that all their future athletes are in good hands.
FLR: What are your college plans?
NJ: I will attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University to study Screenwriting and run Cross Country and Track for the Violets.
FLR: Who would you like to say thank you to?
NJ: Thank you to my teammates for being there every step of the way, my coaches for putting up with all of my craziness, FlRunners for putting so much into this sport that we all love, and my competitors for inspiring me to get out and train every day.
FLR: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
NJ: Best of luck to everyone moving forward and if you are ever in the Big Apple, let's meet up for a run in Central Park!