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Boys Track Athlete of the Year: Long leaves indelible mark on track, North Hall record books
North Hall High’s track standout Nick Long is The Times Boys Track Athlete of the Year.


Listen to North Hall's Nick Long talk about his season and his plans for the future

Nick Long has already heard people say he’s the most successful athlete in North Hall history. The Trojans senior runner has a pretty solid track record to back up such claims.

Consider the facts: Combine his three individual state titles in track with the team trophy the cross country Trojans won his junior year, and Long has a total of four state titles to his name.

He capped his career with state titles in the 800 meter (1 minute, 55.25 seconds) and the 1,600 (4:25.11) at the Georgia Olympics this season. His other individual state title was in the 3,200 as a sophomore.

"These last two state titles mean the most to me," Long said.

For his efforts, Long is The Times 2008 Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. It’s the second time he’s earned the yearly honor.

"It takes a special athlete to even win one state championship," North Hall coach Joe Bradshaw said. "But to win two state titles in the same year is pretty incredible."

North Hall’s athletic director Harold Daniels already asserted the fact that Long is the most successful Trojans athlete at the program’s track and field banquet on May 19. Long was flattered with such a compliment.

"It means a lot to hear that when you think about the fact that the school is 50 years old," Long said. "It’s pretty prestigious."

Long also says the school’s principal made that claim about his place in North Hall history when making an announcement over the intercom.

It wasn’t exactly a given that Long would have a stellar senior season after he battled through a collapsed lung as a junior. Even with the injury, he finished third in the 3,200 (9:59) at state.

Long, who is considering running cross country and track at either Georgia, Appalachian State, UNC-Wilmington or Furman in college, wasn’t afraid to take on a new challenge his final year of high school. As a runner more suited for the long distance events, Long took up the 800 this season. He was a natural in the 1/2-mile race, breaking the previous school record of 1:58.6 set by Johnny Jimenez (2007). This season he broke school records in the 800 and 1,600 a combined five times.

Long credits his diverse training schedule for his success in re-writing the North Hall record books. He tries to keep a varied workout schedule with speed work, distance work and some core work. Training to be an accomplished track athlete isn’t just based on seeing how fast and how long you can run.

"Nick trains almost year round with his cross country schedule and really works hard to stay in shape," Bradshaw said. "He’s a very humble kid and knows he has to work very hard."

When Long reached the state meet at Jefferson Memorial Stadium, he was ready to put all his training this season on the line. As he reached the time to run, North Hall’s four-time state champ admits he wasn’t feeling great. But looking up in the crowd, Long knew he didn’t want to disappoint the 31 friends and family that were holding banners with his name.

And with Long’s performance, he clearly didn’t disappoint his biggest fans.

"I think everything went perfect at state," Long said. "It was great to have so many there to support me."