Nicholas Seckfort Quickly Making a Name for Himself on the Track
April 14, 2011
Usually, a Division-I student-athlete has trained at their respective sport for their entire life – or at the very least, they were competing by junior high. Not in the case of Jayhawk freshman Nicholas Seckfort.
“I didn’t even start running until my freshman year of high school,” Seckfort said. “I had been doing sports all through grade school and knew I definitely wanted to do something athletic in high school. I tried out for basketball and baseball, but I didn’t make either. I told myself if I don’t make baseball then I’ll do track; and that’s how I started getting into track. I never ran competitively before, but that’s really when I got involved in it.”
Of course, just because he ran in high school, doesn’t automatically qualify him for a scholarship to a major Big 12 school. Since he had only been competing in track and field for a couple of years, Seckfort hadn’t considered continuing to run at the next level until late in his high school career.
“I wasn’t even thinking about running in college until my junior year. I ran a two minute flat 800 meters, and that wowed my coaches – it also helped that I beat the top runners on our team, too. That’s when I realized I maybe had something going on there,” Seckfort explained.
Even after he realized that he could get an athletic scholarship, Seckfort wasn’t initially looking at KU for the track program.
“(When I first started looking at colleges), the initial pull to KU had very little to do with athletics,” Seckfort said. “I was actually looking for a school that had architecture as a major. I’m from St. Louis, and I also wanted to stay close to home, track itself was actually kind of a secondary goal. I came here for a visit and I met (Head Coach Stanley Redwine), he’s just a really awesome guy. He really knows what he’s doing, and when I met him, that’s what sealed the deal.”
Having only four true years of training and competition before coming to Kansas hasn’t stopped Seckfort from making a name for himself in Lawrence during his freshman campaign. During the indoor season, Seckfort ran the 800 meter seven times, compiling four top-10 finishes, and a personal best time of 1:54:53, which he recorded at the ISU NCAA Qualifier.
“It started off my career a little slow at first. I had never done indoor track before, so I had to get used to that. There are a lot of turns, and not much time to pass people. At first it was a little rough, but I got used to it. After a while I got my time down to 1:54.00 in the 800m and at that point I was happy because I got back to where I needed to be,” Seckfort said.
Although the outdoor season is only a few weeks old, Seckfort has consistently kept his 800 meter time under the two-minute mark.
“When the outdoor season started I had to get used to running outside all over again, so it’s been different. All that plus the work load and everything has been a little bit strenuous, but I’m happy with it. I’ve gotten faster, so it’s been awesome,” Seckfort said.
In the case of many student-athletes, there is always a teammate or a coach within arm’s reach to help them out during their transition into college – luckily, Seckfort has both. Going to high school in St. Louis, Mo., Seckfort was consistently running in the state championship meet against Dalen Fink, who eventually became Seckfort’s Jayhawk teammate.
“Nick Seckfort and I were rivals our junior and senior years in high school,” freshman Dalen Fink said. “My senior year, I always knew about Nick, he was always my biggest competition. Our senior year, we raced each other at the state meet, and then I found out, after I already signed with Kansas, that he was actually coming here, too. When we first met in Lawrence, it wasn’t awkward; he is a really great guy. Since we both come from Missouri, we’ve been good friends and we’re usually training partners for most of the workouts we do.”
Even though Seckfort is learning everyday with his former rival, he also still has the head coach, Stanley Redwine, to learn from as well.
“(Training in college) is definitely a lot different than high school. (Coach Redwine) has a different training method. In high school we focused a lot more on distance running, but here it’s a little bit more about speed work; my body has had a little bit of a tough time trying to adjust to that. Coach Redwine really knows what he’s talking about, he’s a really good coach,” Seckfort said.
With all the help around him, it doesn’t seem to be too hard of a transition to becoming a Division-I athlete for Nick Seckfort.