Best of the best
Just over a month ago, Canfield rising senior Nick Plant won the Division I 800-meter state championship at the OHSAA track and field state championships with a time of 1:49.79, just under two seconds faster than the second place finisher.
After a season like Plant’s, most runners might toss their track spikes to the side, catch a few extra hours of sleep, or relax on the couch, watch their favorite TV show and enjoy their summer. That was the last thing Plant wanted to do. He had another race to win.
On July 2, Plant traveled to Seattle, Washington to compete in the 2021 Brooks PR Invitational, one of the bigger high school national meets in the country that features some of the best athletes from across the nation.
After flying by his competition in Ohio, Plant performed well on an even bigger stage. With a personal-best time of 1:49.39, he won the 800-meter race at the invitational by just over two-tenths of a second and became the first winner of the event to record a sub-1:50 clocking since 2015.
“It was definitely amazing,” Plant said. “My friends and family have just supported me and helped me get to where I was. They’ve supported me all year so it was pretty cool to come home and show them what I did out in Seattle.”
Once he won the state championship in June, Plant said he knew he couldn’t take any time off if he wanted to run well at the Brooks PR Invitational. He didn’t even take a day off. He got right back to work and was feeling confident heading into his race at Renton Memorial Stadium.
“It felt great, knowing all my hard work, what I went through all year, it finally paid off towards the end of the year,” Plant said. “It was challenging keeping my motivation because it was four weeks after the state meet. It was tough to keep focused until that meet so I just tried my best.
Plant mentioned that heading into the meet several of his opponents were talking about running a sub-1:50 time and one of them was even going for a sub-1:46 time.
“We were all kind of intimidated by him,” Plant said.
Still, Plant didn’t back down.
He said he wasn’t necessarily worried about his time, and after topping his competition in Ohio all season long, he just wanted to place first or second. He said he was also actually pretty excited for the opportunity to run against some of the best runners in the country and added that it pushed him even more when it came time for the race.
“I knew who I was going up against and I knew what they could do so I just had to give it my all,” Plant said.
Plant’s performance in Seattle capped off a special junior season, but after accomplishing so much, with one year of high school remaining, he said he’s ready to keep improving and top his performances as much as he can.
“I’m really excited to see what I can do next year,” Plant said. “I really want to see how much I can improve and I’m really excited to just go out and see what I can do.”
Plant said he’ll take two weeks off from running before getting back into his training regime for the cross country season.