Bedford’s Nick Kaiser poised for breakout seasonWritten by Lew Horn | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For most high school 800-meter runners, cracking two minutes would be considered a milestone. But Bedford High School junior Nick Kaiser would like to break 1:50, and he’s close to meeting that personal mark.
At the March 14 Nike Indoor championships in Boston, Kaiser ran 1:51.35, and he finished second.
“I led the whole race and then a kid from Virginia just caught me at the wire,” Kaiser said. “Of course, I was disappointed I lost, but I was pretty happy with that time.”
He should be. Winner Anthony Kostelac (1:50.96) and Kaiser both broke the meet record. To give some perspective on how good 1:51.35 is, that time would have placed him second at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Track Championships.
Going into the race, Kaiser had the fastest indoor time in the nation, and had already won the Michigan Indoor State Championship with a record time of 1:53.38. Most athletes and coaches would agree that running indoors is a lot tougher.
“The biggest difference is the track is only 200 meters, so you have to make four turns instead of two. They’re a lot sharper too, so you really have to accelerate out of each turn,” Kaiser said. “I think it’s a little harder to breathe too.”
Last season, as a sophomore, he won Michigan’s Division One State Championship and narrowly missed the meet record. Dyestat, a premier national Internet ranking service for track and field, listed him as the top sophomore 800 meter runner in the nation.
Kasier clocked a personal record of 1:50.47 at last summer’s Nike Outdoor Championships. With so many feats already accomplished, Kaiser could sit back and rest on his laurels, but he has other ambitions.
“I want to break our school records in the 400 and 1600,” Kaiser said, “and I’d like to run under 1:50, maybe even get the Michigan state record.”
According to his coach, Bob Masters, a former distance standout at St. Francis and UT, those goals are attainable.
“I plan to run him in different distances this season,” he said. “We’ll run the 1600 for endurance and the 400 for speed. Colleges will want to see good times in those distances, too. We’ll experiment early in the season and then get serious about the 800 closer to the state meet. He will run under 1:50 this season.”
One of the problems Masters faces is finding someone to challenge Kaiser. In big meets he plans to look at the field and then decide where to run his ace.
At last year’s St. Francis Relays, Masters moved Kaiser to the 1600 to face St. Johns standout senior Kevin Yarnell. Yarnell won in 4:16.60, but Kaiser clocked a 4:16.64.
In the Southeast Conference (SEC) jamboree, he moved Nick to the 400 where his finished fourth in 49.82 just .03 from his goal of a school record.
So how does Kaiser handle the pressure in big meets? He likes to grab the lead early and hold on.
“I just run well when I’m in front,” he said. “I do get pretty nervous right before a big race. Everyone expects me to do well, and I expect to do well, but once the gun goes off, the pressure is gone. I just run.”
This season, the Mules will again travel to the prestigious Mansfield relays where Kaiser is defending champ. Toledo track fans will get to see him at Whitmer’s Golden W relays, St. Francis Knight Relays, and the Eastwood Relays.
“We’ll try to go to as many big competitions as we can,” Masters said. “He needs to run against the best to get better.”
For now the coach is taking it slow.
“We didn’t really train that hard for indoor,” Masters said. We just got in some distance work and did speed work once a week. It’s a long season. Indoor is fun, but the outdoor season is our meat and potatoes. We want him to peak for the state meet and the big national competitions in the summer.”
Tags: Bedford High School