Friday, October 4, 2013

Modlin Leading by Example for Hawks

PALATINE, Ill. – Some leaders don't need to be outspoken to be a true leader because their actions speak for themselves and cause others to follow them. For Harper sophomore cross country runner Nick Modlin(Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling), he is the embodiment of one who leads by example. The leader of the nation's top NJCAA men's Div. III cross country team, Modlin is the third Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.

Modlin's decision to attend Harper didn't come until the last minute because he hadn't settled on a field of study, but since that time, he said he's reaped the benefits of a strong athletic program, helpful faculty and great selection of courses.

A letter winner in cross country, swimming and track and field at Wheeling High School, Modlin went out for cross country at Harper in the fall of 2012 and began improving under the tutelage of head coach Jim Macinder, who has over 30 years of experiencing coaching cross country, including helping guide the Hawks to their first national title in cross country in the fall of 2011. Macnider also has vast running experience of his own, as he took second in the Chicago Marathon in 1977.

"It all starts with coach Macnider. He's a fantastic coach, and I get to learn from him in every way I can," Modlin said.

Modlin took 19th at the national meet in 2012 and was a key part of the team that won the national championship for the second straight year. His success carried over to the spring track and field season, where he place fourth in both the 5000m and 10,000m at nationals for a Hawks team that was the national runner-up.

As one of six returners to the cross country team, Modlin has stepped into a leadership role for the Hawks this season. 

"He's that one guy that everybody rallies around. He's not a rah-rah guy but definitely encourages his teammates and congratulates them after races," Macnider said. "He's just a good, well-rounded young man."

In Harper's first three meets of the year, Modlin has been the Hawks' third runner to cross the finish line twice and second runner once. As a team, the Hawks have captured top junior college honors in two of their meets.

Athlete of the Week: Nick Modlin file"He's very coachable and has done everything I've told him," Macnider said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was our top runner in a few meets coming up."

Despite his individual and the team's successes up to this point, Modlin is most encouraged that the team is growing closer as a team. The team goes to Olive Garden on the eve of every meet, and that has grown the team camaraderie.

He has already excelled in the classroom with an N4C Academic All-Conference distinction and has chosen mathematics secondary education
as his major.

Modlin and Macnider both feel he can run at that next level because the Hawks regularly face tough competiton against several four-year schools. This competition will only serve to better the Hawks as they enter the second part of the season and aim for their third straight national title on a hilly course in Northfield, Massachusetts.

Looking ahead, Modlin said he would love to compete at a four-year school and spend more time training and competing with people who share the same passion.

"I want to continue running for as long as I can," he said. "I just love the sport the sport and everything that comes with it."

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