Abbey Nechanicky has been off to a torrid start to her senior season of cross country with big wins at St. Olaf and Roy Griak, an undefeated record, a sparkling new 5K PR of 16:47, and is fresh off announcing her commitment to the University of Colorado.
We at MileSplit Minnesota recently caught up with Nechanicky to discuss her commitment, her cross country season so far, her career at Wayzata, and what the future holds for her.
You just announced your commitment to the University of Colorado to run cross country and track, how does it feel to have your commitment shored up for your future?
It feels great! I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life but I am excited to focus on my senior year and embrace every moment with my team until I move onto campus next fall.
How did you come to commit to Colorado?
The moment I stepped on campus and met the team, Colorado felt like home. I can see myself thriving not only as an athlete at CU but as a student as well. Coming from a team like Wayzata, team culture has always been a very important factor for me. The team at Colorado is truly something special and something I want to be part of. All of the ladies are so supportive of one another and they are all incredibly hard working and dedicated to the sport and to the team. However, they embrace training and enjoy the process along the way. It is truly a family and a sisterhood at Colorado and nothing can beat running with incredible women in the beautiful mountains of Boulder. I am excited to be a buff and have the opportunity to be a part of a historic program coached by Coach Wetmore, Burroughs, and Nelson whom I have made great connections with.
Were there any other schools you considered?
Yes, I also considered NC State, Oklahoma State, UNC Chapel Hill, and the University of Oregon. All of the schools that I considered are phenomenal programs, and I am grateful for all of the relationships I made along the way. However, I felt a spark at CU and I followed my heart.
What was the recruiting process like for you?
The recruiting process was a lot of fun. It is something that you only get to experience once so I embraced it and remembered to be grateful for the opportunities I was given. I enjoyed going on visits and learning about many programs and meeting new people. By going on visits I was able to figure out what was important to me when it came to the school and the team. My teammates and coaches at Wayzata, along with my family and friends, were incredibly supportive of me during the process and I could not have done it without them.
What goals do you envision yourself having for your career at Colorado?
My goal is to continue to learn and grow as a student athlete at the collegiate level. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to be part of such a historic program, and I believe that I will be able to accomplish many things as a team and as an individual during my time at CU.
You will be a teammate now of Emily Covert who you competed against in 2018, what will it be like to be teammates with her and learn from her?
Ever since I was an 8th grader I have always looked up to Emily. It is truly an incredible feeling to have the opportunity to team up with her at Colorado. I got to connect with Emily on my visit at CU and she is not only an amazing teammate but an amazing person as well. I am excited to be able to learn from one of the greatest from Minnesota.
For those on the team currently or those you know will be joining you in your class, who are you most looking forward to training and competing with?
I am looking forward to training and competing with all of the girls who are currently on the team. Additionally, I am very excited to train with Karrie Baloga who has also committed to Colorado.
You missed all of the 2021 cross country season (other than one race), how does it feel to be back this fall and running healthy?
To say it feels amazing is an understatement. The cross country season is my favorite time of the year and me and my team have had a lot of fun so far. I am very grateful to be healthy and competing this fall with my incredible team. I have been finding so much joy in competing and the results and fast times come naturally by having fun and loving what you do. I have not been able to stop smiling during every race. I honestly believe my injury last year was a blessing in disguise and I have only grown mentally and physically stronger as a student athlete.
What are your goals for the rest of the cross-country season this fall?
As a team we are excited for the races ahead as we enter championship season and the postseason. A team state championship and national birth is a goal of ours. For me, I want to continue to have fun and run my hardest for my team. My goal is to win the individual state title but until we get there I will continue to take it one day, one workout, and one race at a time and won't stop smiling.
Your Wayzata girls are undefeated this season so far with big wins at the St. Olaf HS Showcase and Roy Griak, how far do you and the rest of your team think you can go this season?
To infinity and beyond! We have had a solid start to the season but I believe the best is yet to come. We have a lot of potential as a team and we believe we can be very competitive at the national level. I believe that if we continue to stay patient and smart with our training and continue to have fun, work hard, and be grateful, we will have a strong finish to the cross country season. As of now, we will continue to treat each race as a learning opportunity and continue to grow as a team with the end of the season in mind.
Looking past the Minnesota cross-country season, are you going to compete at any of the big national or regional meets?
Yes! As a team, we are planning on competing at Nike Heartland Regionals to qualify for Nike Nationals. I am also planning on racing at Eastbay regionals and nationals.
You are one of the fastest runners in Wayzata history, what kind of legacy and impact do you think you're leaving on the program?
I have made an impact with my accomplishments as a runner, but I believe I have made a bigger impact as a teammate and leader. As I sat out last cross country season due to my injury, I realized how much of a leader I am for the team outside of leading them across the finish line. A great runner is not determined on how fast they can run, how many miles their shoes take each day, or if they finish first or last. A great runner is developed from their attitude and commitment to their team. That being said, I have always had a team first mentality and care for and respect each and every one of my teammates greatly. I believe that me and my teammates have created a team culture that will continue to live on at Wayzata as we enter new chapters of our lives. I may be in the record books at Wayzata High School, but my leadership and how I've treated and inspired my teammates and younger runners is what I am most proud of.
Who have been some of your favorite teammates to compete with and some of your favorite runners to compete against?
I have been blessed with the opportunity to share the Wayzata uniform with a variety of teammates. Each year the team has been a little different and I have had so much fun getting to know every single one of my teammates. I have had a lot of fun competing with the other seniors on my team since 8th grade. We have trained together for 5 years now and we are excited to finish our senior year together. Other than having the opportunity to compete with incredible teammates I have also had the opportunity to compete against incredible individuals as well. Ana Weaver, Ali Wiemer, Sydney Drevlow, and Maya Mor to name a few but the list is endless.
What has been your favorite cross country memory so far from high school?
The memory that comes straight to mind is placing 3rd at Nike Nationals in 2018 with my team. I will never forget the feeling of standing on the podium next to my best friends. It was truly a surreal moment and I hope to relive this memory this year and I want my current teammates to be able to experience it as well. NXN was definitely a highlight of my cross country career, but every single practice, bus ride, retreat, and trip with my teammates will forever be the memories I remember the most. I have made countless memories with my teammates at our annual team retreats at Baker Park and our summer Colorado trips. I have made many new friendships that I will forever cherish and have met my best friends through Wayzata Cross Country.