The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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Athlete of the Issue: Nick Strayer


After winning his first-ever race in fifth grade, Nick Strayer ‘24 fell in love with running. 

“It’s the first race I remember,” he said. “I had been running all summer and I was really enjoying it, but I wasn’t sure how good I was going to be. I remember telling my dad while walking the race course before the race that I wanted to be in first place by the time I was about halfway. And then I was, and I was able to come home with the win.”

Since then, Strayer has become one of LT’s most successful runners. Before high school, he went to state with St. Francis Xavier two times. His freshman year season was during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he met many influential people that year. 

“I got to run with a lot of people who were great role models for me, and laid a foundation for me,” he said. “They showed me what was possible if I worked hard.” 

After running a 4:35 mile during freshman year track season, Strayer put in the effort to develop his mile time and began to see himself as a mile runner as well, rather than the standard 5K run throughout the cross country season. In that same year, he made national qualifying times and flew to Oregon to compete in the freshman mile. 

“Going to [Oregon] showed me how far running could take me,” Strayer said. “It showed me how far I could go if I kept working hard, and that all my hard work paid off.”

In his junior year cross country season, he continued to prove himself as a runner, especially when he took home the gold at LT’s Mike Kuharic Invite. From there, he placed seventh in the IHSA State Championship in Peoria, which was a huge step in the right direction, he said. That winter, he began reaching out to college coaches, who gave him a common benchmark of 4:15 in the mile to meet. However, at that same time, Strayer faced a minor setback. 

“There’s never a good time to get injured,” he said. “I missed the entirety of junior year indoor season with a stress fracture. [After recovery,] I went to run in an Illinois top 10’s meet, ran that, and won, so I knew I was ready to come back for the outdoor season.”

Later in the year, Strayer ran in two club meets: one in Chicago, and the other in Philadelphia, where he ran 4:14 in the mile and broke the barrier. After that, he drove up to Brown University for his first unofficial visit. 

“Brown has academic and athletic sides to it, and as soon as I stepped on campus, it just felt like a home,” he said. “Coach [Colin] Zeffer is new at Brown and I know I’ll have a lot of opportunities to compete there. On top of that, I’ve always wanted to go out East.”

Teammate John O’Halloran ‘25 has been running with Strayer since 2014 at St. Francis, he said. 

“[Nick] stands out compared to other LT runners because of how hard he works outside of the times we have practice,” O’Halloran said. “He sometimes will come before practice, or stay afterwards to get all of his training or mileage done. I hope that Nick has a successful running and academic career at Brown, and I also hope to visit him at school.” 

Although he is moving on to college athletics, the LT distance program is something he will miss, along with the team atmosphere, he said. 

“The team atmosphere at LT is one of the best parts of the program,” Strayer said. “It’s not just a team, it’s a family, and all the suffering brings you together. I’ve made a lot of great bonds on the team. It’s one thing to work hard for what you want but it’s another thing to work hard for what your team wants, and it’s super inspiring to see all the guys around you working to the same goal.”

Strayer has one last season left at LT, and hopes to break the LT records in the indoor and outdoor mile, which are currently at 4:16 and 4:14. 

“It’s nice to have something to look at everyday for motivation, hoping I can be up there,” he said. “I’ve run thousands of miles in the past year. It would be great to be up there, and have all that hard work recognized.”

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Katie Garrity
Katie Garrity, Sports Editor

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