Nance hopes to build on momentum from sub-14 performance at Woodbridge Cross Country Classic in next race at MileStat.com Invitational, in addition to pursuing first appearance at national final and seeking berth on U.S. roster for World Athletics U20 Championships
By Todd Grasley for DyeStat
Berkley Nance, a senior at Mills Godwin High in Virginia, has quickly positioned himself as one of the top distance runners in the country.
Nance competed Sept. 16 at the 42nd Woodbridge Cross Country Classic presented by ASICS America, finishing fifth in a loaded Doug Speck boys sweepstakes field.
His time of 13:58.7 was a new personal best and a remarkable accomplishment, breaking the 14-minute mark, an aspiration of many athletes on the 3-mile course at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.
“I loved the experience of racing cross country under the lights in California,” Nance said. “There is no other experience like it in Virginia.”
If Woodbridge was a test, consider it a challenge accepted for Nance.
He became the only athlete in Virginia’s history to achieve the sub-14 performance and one of only 23 high school competitors to do so in the meet’s 42-year history. It was a great opener to start his senior year, but Nance is focused on the next race.
“I love the quote, ‘Don’t let victory defeat you,’” he said. “Racing some of the top runners in the country will give me the necessary experience to perform at my best at nationals in December.”
The next big target for Nance will be the MileStat.com Invitational at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville.
It’s a course that holds his 5-kilometer cross country PR of 14:51 from last year’s race, when he finished third behind Charlie Ortmans from Potomac High in Virginia and Pierre Attiogbe of St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C., both of whom have graduated.
“I love big training blocks, so I can build fitness and get faster. Woodbridge is similar to MileStat in some ways, so it was great to get a feel for that type of racing before MileStat.”
In addition to a rigorous training schedule, Nance credits coach Tim Crytser for his success.
“Coach Crytser has significantly helped our team and me be more consistent in areas like warming up, recovery and injury prevention,” Nance said. “Doing these small things will help our team get better and faster.”
As his final cross country season draws to an end in the months ahead, he is looking forward to the postseason, both as an…