Rider running a dream – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
The senior sprinter is looking to end his track career at North Medford
As the snow fell in late December and early January, Nathan Rider wasn’t just thinking about the warmer days ahead.
That’s because, for Rider, it meant the chance to do something the senior had yet to do in his entire high school career: run a regular season on the track.
“It kept me disciplined for sure,” said Rider, 17, who attends Logos Public Charter School and races the track at North Medford High. “Eating well, doing my best in every practice and preparing for the big competition, a state competition, it’s great. I am happy to be able to continue the journey that leads to it.
He had this chance this spring and certainly took full advantage of it.
Rider has undoubtedly kept his best self for his senior track season in high school and has made the leap to become one of Oregon State’s top sprinters this year. Going into this week’s Southwest Conference district meet, which kicks off today at South Eugene High School and continues Saturday, Rider has risen to the occasion and provided plenty of highlights along the way.
The runner’s time of 10.69 seconds in the 100 meters posted on day two of the Medford Rotating Relays in early April is the best in the state.
On top of that, Rider is second to junior Andrew Walker of South Medford in the 200m with a time of 21.57. The Sacramento State-bound runner is also ranked sixth in the state in the 400 at 49.82.
“I’m just excited to compete,” Rider said with a healthy smile. “I have a lot of competition this year and the blessing of facing Andrew Walker. I haven’t been feeling great the last two weeks, but I’m fine now and I can be on top form while (Walker) is competing at his top form too. It’s going to be really interesting and I’m just lucky to have the opportunity to compete.
Essentially you name the sprint event and Rider has proven he has the legs for it.
“He’s a kid you can ride and you can probably put him in an 800 and he would pull it off,” North Medford coach Piet Voskes joked. “He’s got an engine on him, but he’s got such a competitive drive and he loves the opportunity to compete, and it doesn’t matter what event it is.
“It shows his versatility, it shows his ability to succeed in any event he puts himself in,” Voskes continued. “I think it just shows his undying desire to finish his senior year the way he thinks he can.”
It was a season in which Rider improved in just about every aspect of his racing, and the times show it.
Case in point: During his junior campaign last spring, when he won the Southern Oregon Conference title in the 200m, Rider did not finish with a time of less than 11 seconds in the 100m. In each of his five 100m races this season, he has been under 11 seconds.
“It’s been a year of lifting, lifting smart, and he hasn’t missed a workout starting in December,” Voskes said. “That commitment to excellence is who he is, but he has invested in himself over the past year. He knew that was the difference between being a good sprinter and a great sprinter. He wanted to make sure he would be able to compete beyond high school, so he had to make sure teams recognized his abilities, and that only happened by doing off-season practices.
Rider will be one of the busiest riders at the SWC meet this weekend, racing the three distances he is so highly ranked in in the state, while also being part of North’s 4×400 relay team. . He doesn’t hide his visions of bringing the state together in multiple events and making it another busy weekend for him at Hayward Field in Eugene.
“I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to go to the districts,” Rider began, “and then to go to the state, to be at Hayward twice, the greatest facility in the world… it’s just great to be able to compete so much in one season.”
The catch to all of this is that with Rider being in the Class of 2022, things have been far from normal for the past three years.
After seeing his first season in 2019 end early thanks to a hamstring injury, Rider’s second season never started thanks to the early months of the pandemic. Then his junior year came down to a modified spring season with just regional opposition.
“Really, all he got was a six-week high school track season last year,” Voskes said. “He’s a young guy who also runs cross-country because he thinks it makes him stronger. How many high school sprinters do that and don’t back down after a fall workout at one point? where we have to remind him that he is a sprinter.
For those familiar with Rider, seeing one of the state’s top sprinters suddenly transform into a long-distance runner might come as no surprise.
He is a teenager who loves the battle that comes with a new challenge or a difficult task.
Similar to why he says running the 400m became his favorite race, cross-country gave him the chance to push himself beyond his comfort zone.
And so did the training sessions in the cold of winter, laying the foundations for a special spring.
“The grind never stops,” Rider said. “Training here (at Bowerman Field) every day has been normal for me since the summer. I did cross-country training, then cross-country training and then winter training – it doesn’t never stops.
Rider points to former North sprinter Tyren Wolfe as someone he has always tried to emulate – in terms of individual success as well as the ability to be so good at multiple events.
Wolfe, a 2016 North graduate, was the first sprinter south of Eugene in 30 years to win a state title in the 100 when he won in 2015.
“It was my goal to break his records since freshman year,” Rider said. “He’s Tyren Wolfe, he’s the school record holder, I should try to break his records. That’s been a real motivation for me, and now that I’m really close to that, I think I I can really do it and it gives me more motivation to try harder in training and give it my all.
Winning a state title next week will require beating Walker, who is having his own special season, and a strong group of sprinters.
The Rider-Walker rivalry is friendly, Voskes said: “They’re both class acts, they bang each other, they talk to each other after races – it’s refreshing how they go about their business.”
It’s North versus South, of course. But it’s also a couple of 17-year-olds racing in the same races and pushing each other to be better. Rider is the first to tell you he wants that challenge from Walker every time he steps into the starting blocks of a race.
He also wants to beat Walker because that’s just the nature of competition, but having another of the state’s top sprinters right across town is something Rider really understands is unique.
“It’s awesome and I look at it and it’s like, ‘What are the chances of that happening?'” Rider said. “He’s a cool guy. He always brings his A-game and I love that. He’s someone to compete against. I love the opportunity to have someone who is of my caliber to compete and who is there to push me to be the best I can be in my races.
Even having the chance to end his season on that kind of note is something Rider totally embraces.
“It’s bittersweet, but it’s super exciting because that’s what the work was put forward for,” Voskes said. “Knowing that a young man was training there with snowflakes falling in January and then again in May, here he is trying to accomplish his dreams and goals.
“It’s so cool to see Nathan culminate his career in high school, and that’s what the next two weeks are all about. It’s his cornerstone, his final exam, and nobody’s going to be there. prepare better than him.
Contact reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribuneNorth Medford’s Nathan Rider puts on his spikes on the Bowerman Field track on Wednesday afternoon.