TEMPERANCE -- Already recording the top 800-meter time in the nation for high school runners, it would seem Nick Kaiser has nothing to prove.
The Bedford senior is out to prove plenty, hoping to capture a Michigan state title in the event after failing to repeat his championship last year.
Kaiser is pushing himself more than ever this spring. He recorded a time of 1:50.44 in the 800 at the Jesse Owens Collegiate Invitational, the best time by a high school runner in the U.S. this season.
"I'd like to break 1:50 or run 1:49 [in the 800] by the end of the season," said Kaiser.
Bedford coach Bob Masters considers Kaiser a one-of-a-kind athlete.
"He's definitely the best track athlete that Bedford has ever had," said Masters, who has been the track coach for seven years and cross country coach for 12 seasons.
Kaiser, who will continue to run at the University of Tennessee, holds three track school records, as well as the cross country record.
In track, he's run the fastest time of in Bedford history in the 400 meters (49.6), the 800 (1:50.10), and ran a leg on the state championship 3200 relay team last spring, teaming with Chad Machinski and Tommy Valade (both now graduated), and current senior Dan Thompson for a time of 7:43.5.
His cross country mark for the 3.1-mile distance is 15:30.
Kaiser's exceptional athleticism was recognized as early as junior high. He participated in every sport offered at Bedford Junior High -- football and cross country during the fall, basketball and wrestling during the winter and track during the spring.
Running a personal-best time of 4:44 in the 1600 as an eighth-grader showed he had a gift for running long distances.
"I had him in my class in seventh grade and he set multiple records in junior high track," Masters said. "You could tell he was head and shoulders better than everyone else in junior high."
Kaiser entered the season with a goal of winning another state championship in the 800 to close out his high school career. He's running faster times at this stage of the season than he did a year ago.
He produced strong efforts in two notable early season meets held in Ohio. Kaiser finished seventh out of 25 competitors in an open 800 at the Jesse Owens meet. He was the only high school competitor in the race which had college and professional runners.
"He was pretty happy about that race," Masters said. "He just wanted to get better and faster, so he really didn't care about losing that race."
Kaiser also shined at the Knight Relays at St. Francis de Sales last month by winning the 800 with a meet-record 1:51.37, dispensing the old mark of 1:57.30 set in 2008 by Colin Pettiford.
Yet, the lean, 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, believes he has room for improvement with less than a month remaining before the state meet.
"I'm in good shape, but I'm not in top-notch shape," said Kaiser, who has put in as much as 50-55 miles of running during any given week to help with his overall strength and endurance.
Winning another state championship would be a fitting end to his high school career. It would help put behind the disappointment of not repeating as the 800 champion last year when fatigue and dehydration from running in the 3200 relay affected him during the 800 final that took place later in the day. He placed third with a time of 1:52.88. A year earlier, he captured the title with a time of 1:52.13.
"It was pretty disappointing because a lot of people expected me to repeat," Kaiser said. "A lot of people didn't know the circumstances of the 4 x 800 and then I got sick.
"But I hope to get it back this year because that's the only event I'll be doing. I think I have a good chance at it."
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6302.
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