Nick Gilles On Finishing Strong and His Future at Wisconsin


He may be a senior, but Minnetonka's Nick Gilles still has big plans for himself and his team for this cross-country season. Gilles wants to see his team take the state title, have himself defend his Class AAA state title, and wants to run sub 15-minutes in the 5K. 

We at MileSplit Minnesota recently caught up with Gilles to talk about his plans for this fall, his recruiting process, and his commitment to the University of Wisconsin.


How did you come to commit to Wisconsin?

It just became pretty apparent to me that out of all the schools I visited in the recruiting process, Wisconsin was the best. In my opinion, the mix of athletic and academic factors at Wisconsin is better then just about any other school in the US.

Were there any other schools you considered?

I had talked to quite a few, although I had visits to Tennessee Knoxville, Tulsa, and Minnesota. 

What was the recruiting process like for you?

It took a bit of reaching out and lots of persistence with some coaches, although after state xc 2021 I was able to develop relationships with coaches through the summer. By the summer I scheduled most of my visits, took them, and made my decision. 

What goals do you envision yourself having for your career at Wisconsin?

Would love to win a B1G title, in likely the 5k or 10k. With the recruiting class Wisconsin is building this year and potentially getting next year, continuing to dominate at the B1G XC meet is also a goal. Finally, if everything can come together winning an NCAA title would be a dream for sure. 

You and fellow 2023 classmate Andrew Casey both committed to the University of Wisconsin. Did you both talk about committing together? Are you looking forward to being teammates instead of competitors?

There was definitely some talk about it especially since we both went on our official visit together. Before the visit it was definitely an idea, and by the end of our 72 hours it was pretty apparent that it was going to become a reality. Absolutely looking forward to ripping a DMR with him on my team.

Related Interview: Lakeville Norths Andrew Casey Commits to Wisconsin

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?

There is one guy me and Andrew know is considering Wisconsin and would love to have him join us and make it a really good class. As far as people already on the team - guys like Bob Liking, Rowan Elenberg, Evan Bishop, Adam Spencer, the whole team really. 

What are your goals for the rest of the cross-country season this fall?

Defend my state title, run sub 15 on a legit course, and help lead my team to nationals at NXN.

Your Minnetonka boys have yet to beat any of your chief competition in Class AAA this year in Wayzata and Lakeville North, do you think by the end of the season you and your teammates will be able to compete against the best Minnesota has to offer?

We haven't had our team in full force at a meet since Nike Previews, and even then there were some hiccups in our top 7 with illness and injury. This has all been sorted out by now and I'm absolutely looking forward to seeing how we stack up against other teams on November 5th. 

Related: Meet Recap: 2022 Lake Conference Championships

You have gotten off to a faster start to your season this year compared to last year but have yet to see any wins. Are you saving your best again this year for the championship season?

I didn't have any wins until Lake Conference last year, so I'll leave the answer of that question up to you. 

You are the defending Class AAA state champion, how are you going to defend your title against the likes of Noah Breker, Sam Scott, and others?

Just how I was able to win it last year. 

Looking past the Minnesota cross-country season, are you going to compete at any of the big national or regional meets?

I plan on competing at Nike Regionals and Eastbay - then go to whichever national meet I/my team makes. 

You are one of the fastest runners in Minnetonka history, what kind of legacy and impact do you think you're leaving on the program?

I think that I'm leaving a pretty positive legacy on the team, especially since I was there when we made it to the "state meet" as a team in 25+ years in 2020. From there, we have continually gotten better and better and hopefully will continue that trend beyond my time in HS. 

Related: Gilles Wins Class AAA State XC Title

Who have been some of your favorite teammates to compete with and some of your favorite runners to compete against?

Definitely my favorite people to run with are my current team right now, although looking to alumni from the program I always have fun on runs with Matt and Adam Wilkinson, Max Lauerman, Beau Pullman, and Austin Hunter. 

What has been your favorite cross country memory so far from high school?

Definitely winning the state meet in 2021, although doing a Chick-Fil-A triathlon with my team every year is close second.