UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | October 01, 2022

Athlete of the Month: Freshman Watson leads team

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Freshman Nick Watson continues to go the extra mile by pushing himself and Dixie State University’s cross-country team to success.

This first-year runner sped past everyone’s expectations and broke a few records along the way in the first race of the season. Having worked hard over the summer, he is showing success in his runs and has a promising future ahead.

“He was running 85 miles a week getting ready for the season and just doing all he could to be prepared,” head coach Justin Decker said.

Those extra miles paid off in the long run when Watson took first place in the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz., Sept. 7.

“He was our top runner, and he broke our team record for that course,” Decker said. “He ran 27:26, which is a little bit faster than our men’s team record.”

With that achievement he was also named the Pacific West Coast Conference freshman of the week.

“He has just been our leader so far, not only time-wise, but a leader by just helping out as an example and leader of the team,” Decker said.

Decker said Watson is always setting a good example for the other runners and doing all he can to improve.

“Nick always pushes everyone on the team to run farther and faster,” said Zach Smith, a sophomore general education major from West Jordan. “He is always in front and leading us.”

Smith said it is nice to have him out there leading the team. He said he makes the team better by example.

Watson usually runs to and from practice just to get the extra miles in, showing his coaches and teammates how dedicated to running and winning he really is.

“[He makes me] want to beat him,” Smith said. “So I am trying to keep up with him or push past him, but he is always there pushing me.”

Smith said Watson helps the team improve by simply having it try to keep up with him.

“He is a good teammate,” said Skyler Tarver, a senior communication major from Wrightwood, Calif. “He came here and took on the role as captain and a leader. Everyone looks up to him. He does a really good job at taking the lead, cheering and helping the teammates out. He makes me want to do the extra mile as well.”

Not only is he a friend and a leader on the track, he is also both in reality.

Decker said Watson is also a good student and represents the team on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. With that title, he plans service and community engagement activities for all of the student athletes.