Athlete Profile: Nic Bourgault
September 27, 2021
Senior Nic Bourgault is new to Antioch Community High School this year, but not new to running cross country. He has participated in cross country at his former high school, Belvidere North, since his sophomore year.
“I did soccer freshman year, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I thought I would,” Bourgault said. “Then my friend thought since I’m not doing a sport, I should just join cross country.”
Cross country training looks a little different from regular sports practice. They practice Monday through Saturday. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are over-distance days; these days athletes run longer than the actual race distance. Tuesdays and Thursdays are workout days, so the team does cruise intervals. Cruise intervals entail running a mile and then jogging in place for 30 seconds and then running another mile. After that, athletes restart the whole cycle again, running a total of four miles, and, all the while, a coach is timing the mile runs in order for athletes to try to beat their previous time. Saturdays are long-distance run days, which means that they run seven miles. In a week, Bourgault runs around 20 miles during practices and meets.
The varsity race has two different courses: a three-mile course and a 5K.
Bourgault is a determined runner and has goals for the rest of the season. He would like to run three miles in under 17 minutes. He also would like to be the number two runner. Right now, Bourgault is third on the team. To get to number two, he is going to have to push himself hard to beat senior Carter Webb, who is currently the number two runner.
During Bourgault’s sophomore year, he ran his best time yet. He ran the varsity course in 17 minutes and 45 seconds.
“My best time was my sophomore year with a 17:45.” Bourgault said, “I hope to break that this year with a low 17. My best race so far this year is 17:50.”
With Bourgault being new to the team this year, there are definitely some disadvantages, but he has made the most out of the season for being new to the district.
“I do see Nic going far, our first meet on a very tough course he placed third,” junior Benjamin Georgia said, “He puts in hard work at practice and it’s paying off.”
Bourgault has been a great addition to the team. In his first meet of the season, he placed third for the 2.5-mile race. Teammates senior Joaquin Barba and Georgia along with coach Ryan Hlinak, have all agreed that Bourgault is an asset to the team and pushes others to do their best.
“He has risen up to be one of our best runners as well as a friendly face, good competitor and overall fun guy to be around,” Barba said. “He raises the team morale wherever he goes and he always has the biggest smile on his face.”
Cross country is not a typical team sport; Athletes do not depend on others to make the right play or pass to win. In cross country, runners are running against competitors but are ultimately trying to beat their own best time. And even though it is not a team sport, Bourgault is there for his teammates when they need a little extra cheering on.
“He’s just an awesome kid,” Hlinak said. “[We are] glad to have him on the team and he’s really pushing everybody else to be their best.”
With every sport, there is always someone that an athlete looks up to. For Bourgault, this is senior Lucas Baronello. Baronello has helped Bourgault adjust to the team and has helped him with his running.
“At my old school, I definitely had a lot of people [to look up to], and here I would say it’s Lucas because he’s one of my best friends on the team,” Bourgault said.
For every athlete, there are certain things to do before a game, meet or match. For Bourgault, he has a routine that works for him.
“I always wear my socks that my old coach gave me,” Bourgault said. “And then on the bus rides, I just don’t talk. I put in earbuds and just listen.”
With Bourgault being a senior this year, there are a lot of things that he needs to think about with cross country and college.
Bourgault has his sights set on Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to major in marketing.
As Bourgault continues to run throughout the season, he will continue to strive towards his goals and continue to inspire his teammates. By doing this, he gets better and will be able to continue achieving his goals.