Cole Nowacki Has Watched His Team Grow

Cole Nowacki, Class of 2020 - East Grand Forks High School

What are all your personal records? What State Meet competitions have you been in, and what were your results?


1600m- 4:34

3200m- 10:23

5,000m- 16:00

I went in the State track meet in 2017 as a alternate runner for the 4x400m relay, and I was super excited that I was picked to run as the anchor and the energy from the crowd during the race was amazing. In 2018, I qualified for the 1600m, I was super happy with the experience that I received while running. I placed 10th overall and ran my pr of 4:34 flat. I have also competed in the State Cross Country Meet in 2016 where I placed 108th with a time of 17:50, in 2017 where I finished 45th in 17:05, and 2018 when I took 10th in 16:17. The last year, I went along with our boys team who took 6th overall,  which is the highest in our school's history.

How did you first get involved with track and XC, and what other sports have you done?

I first came involved with track in the spring of 7th grade. I was over-the-moon happy to be able to run track. My favorite race is the 1600m. The best was when I would beat the 8th graders running in the same race as the 7th graders. After I realized in 7th grade that football was not my sport, I looked into running cross country the next fall. I would do this with some family friends that would later end up being some of my closest friends and teammates. I came out for cross country in the fall of 8th grade and our first meet was in Thief River Falls, MN. Their course is basically running laps around soccer and baseball fields and then a little excursion through a little path through the woods. I remember during the race it was at least 98 degrees and sunny. I had about a half mile left and I threw up, so no one wanted to pass me due to this.

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

My most memorable meet was at the 2018 Minnesota State Cross Country Meet. This is because I placed 10th overall, which was a huge goal of mine. Plus I had the enjoyment this year of competing as a full team at State for the first time. My team finished 6th overall which again is the highest our team has ever placed at the state meet.

Tell me a standout non-competition-related memory from your athletics career.

One year for Halloween a couple of the boys and girls from the cross country team decided that we were going to go a haunted forest. So we all decided that it will be fun. Little did we know that they split the group in half and sent us at different times. So somehow I got volunteered to lead the pack for our group. Lets just say we might have set a land speed record that night when moving through the woods. Everyone wanted to stay right behind me until someone with a chainsaw came running at us and everyone let go of me and I fell to the ground while he was standing over me with the chainsaw. At one point they had to stop us halfway through because we were moving too fast.

Who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

I would say that some of my favorite teams to compete against would have to be the Perham boys distance crew, along with Christian Sterton from Ada, and Zach Heppner from Warroad who graduated last year.

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career, and how have they helped you?

My distance Coach Kirk Misialek would have to be one the people who has helped me the most. He puts up with me coming into his classroom everyday asking what the workout is, or texting him for workouts, or pushing me to do better. My mom and dad have helped me the most over the years. You could say that they were the reason why I started running. My parents are always there to support me during the great races and the not so great races.  

Who might we find cheering for you at competitions?  

My coaches Kirk Misialek and Roger Hanson. But the most important is my dad. He is always there yelling out my splits every 400 and always tells me good job and a way to improve. My grandparents also love coming to my meet. My grandma has always packed me a lunch for the track meets since 8th grade to eat after each meet. The best memory of my grandma would be when she started running next to me along the bleachers on the last 100m cheering me on. For my coaches it would be when Mr. Hanson is yelling "Warrior Mode" multiple times and super loud.

What is a challenge, or challenges, you have had to face as an athlete?

Being able to push yourself to and past the breaking point. Long distance running makes you really question yourself. As your running mile repeats you sometimes ask you self, I must have something really wrong with me for wanting to sprint miles over and over again. One challenge I still have trouble overcoming is not being a nervous wreck before a meet. Regardless of what meet it is I still get this little light feeling inside of me. Which I don't think will ever go away. The big thing I try do before I race is talk to people. Somehow it has helped tremendously.

What are your main goals for this track season?

My main goals are to be able to run at the State Meet this year in one or two events. Breaking 4:30 in the 1600 would be amazing, or maybe even get the school record which is 4:25.

What are you and your teammates looking forward to the most this year?

Being able to have a very successful distance program and maybe be able to all run together at the state meet either in a relay or in multiple events. One thing to say about having a team, is that it is an amazing tool to have kids that can run with you and push each other to do better everyday. My 8th grade year through my 9th grade year we only had maybe two distance boys total. Now we have at least 6 long distance runners that place very well at every meet. So basically I wouldn't be able to run as fast if it wasn't for the team.

Do you plan on continuing with track and XC after high school?

Yes I would be very happy if I was able to run at college.  

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

Yes I sure do.

  • Every night before the meet I "enjoy" eating pasta for only the 100th time this year, then I drain my legs, pack my bag and eat a huge bowl of popcorn with 2 cheese sticks

  • The day of I eat a bowl of oatmeal before breakfast along with a glass of juice and water and one banana

  • For lunch I have just a jelly sandwich, with 4 cheese sticks, carrots, apple, banana, and a bag of pretzels.

  • And I always listen to the same playlist each time I have a meet... best songs would have to be Bohemian Rhapsody or Country Roads before a meet and Better Now

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?

Spending time at the lake with friends and family, water skiing, hunting, snow skiing, and going on vacation.

What advice would you give to younger athletes, or athletes just starting out in track?

Try anything out you want to. Don't just have your heart set on one thing. And push yourself to be the best you can be.

Do you have any specific running advice or tips that you would like to share?

Running is a sport where your results are determined by what you put in during practice.

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

I have worn the same pair of spandex to every meet since I started running cross country in 8th grade.