By Kerrigan McVicker
A two-time steeplechase conference champion, school record-holder for steeplechase, and school record-holder for the 5k in cross country, senior Wade White is the prime example of a dedicated, hard-working and humble student-athlete. I sat down with White to discuss his experience throughout his career at NSU and what he aspires to do in the future.
What is your major and why did you choose NSU?
“I am a business administration major with a minor in marketing. I chose [NSU] because I just really loved the campus when I visited and after meeting Coach Hagopian for the first time. I realized that he is someone I could really talk to and knew that he was going to have my back and make me a better runner that I wanted to be.”
At what age did you begin your cross country and track career?
“I started track in the spring of my freshman year of high school, so I was 15 years old. And then I started cross country the following fall of my sophomore year, so I was still 15 then, too.”
How do you handle being a two-sport athlete in college?
“It takes a lot of time management for sure. I really have to plan my classes accordingly with my schedule because that is a priority and I am in season all year long. So, making sure that you are using your time wisely and being smart with how you take care of yourself and your schoolwork is very important.”
Do you like the two sports equally? Why or why not?
“I am definitely a little more biased towards track. I always have been, ever since I started. I have always had a love for the track, and I think it is kind of funny because most cross country people hate track. I like that track never changes and it is always one circle where cross country can be different depending on where you are running. One course may have hills with turns everywhere, while another may be flat and all straight lines. You just don’t know what you are going to get.”
What has been your greatest accomplishment/memory during your career at NSU?
“I think one of my favorite memories was my freshman year. I tried out the steeplechase for the first time and worked on it all season long. It came down to the conference 3,000 meter final race. I was in this really tight race with a bunch of really good kids, and I ended up out-kicking this guy in the final 100 meters as we were coming over the hurdle dead-even with each other. I out-kicked him as a freshman and won the conference title for the steeplechase. That is one of my most fond memories I have, especially because I was a freshman and no one expected it. I also won the conference championship in the same event again the next year before getting injured my junior year.”
What has been your biggest challenge?
“Besides injuries, dealing with balancing school, running and work is a lot. I was aware going into it and knew I had to work hard, but there have been sleepless nights that I have had to push through. You have to enjoy what you are doing, or else it is not going to be worth it.
How has being a student athlete at NSU shaped you into the person you are today?
“It really brings out a different side of you. You are so competitive all of the time working towards whatever goals [you] may have. It is the drive that pushes someone to reach any goals that he or she may have. It has helped my time management skills and how to balance school, running, work, and having a social life. All of these things play some major key factors to when one becomes an adult, and I definitely have built some lasting relationships with my teammates who I will go to bat for every single day. The whole thing has shaped me into who I am because of the experiences that my teammates and I have been through and it really made me into my own person.”
Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your career?
“My biggest inspiration is my dad, definitely. I was a soccer player since I was four. I played all the way through high school, but decided to run in college instead. He was my coach from day one and was always there to push me and make me into the athlete that I am. I always just knew that if there was ever a problem, I could call him at any second of the day. He has flown down from Pennsylvania twice to see me race this track season because he wants to be there and see those moments. He knows how much it means for me and how much harder I will push myself knowing that he is there watching.
What do you plan/want to do after graduation?
“I am working that out. My dream is to own my own business. I love working on cars, so I would want to do performance and restoration on any type of car ever. In the next year, I will do whatever is necessary and maybe continue working as a manager at Smokey Bones, or move back to Pennsylvania to try to start something closer to my family. To me, family is really important, so I am considering one of those two options.”
What’s going to be your biggest takeaway as you graduate college?
“My biggest takeaway is going to be the relationships that I have built. At the end of the day, there are records and championships that will always mean something to me, but records are meant to be broken. I cannot wait for someone to break mine and I would love to shake their hand when they do it. But, I know that the friendships that I have made are going to last a lifetime. My teammates, guys and girls, are people that I will meet up with as much as I possibly can no matter where they are because that is how much time we have spent together. We have been through all of the early practices, training and meets together every single day for the past four years, and that creates a relationship I will always cherish.”
Caption: White is a two-time steeplechase conference champion, school record-holder for steeplechase and school record-holder for the 5k in cross country.
Credit: D. Hendricks