RENO, NV.: What started out as a simple shot in the dark has turned into quite the accomplishment for Nicole Wadden.
Wadden, a Lockview High graduate, participated on the school’s track and field team and out of curiosity posted a video of one of her performances on BeRecruited.com. The coach for Nevada Wolf Pack saw and contacted her.
Five years later, Wadden is graduating from the school as their second best career track and field athlete, and oh there’s also the fact she’s a second team All-American, just missing first team All-American status by five points. The top 16 in the U.S. make the NCAA’s All-American; with the top eight on the first team. Wadden was ninth.
“It’s very exciting. It’s a great honour,” she told The Laker in a June 16 interview. “It’s the second best honour you can get, but it’s frustrating. I was definitely aiming to be first team All-American but I tried my best.”
During her Wolf Pack career, Wadden became the second-most decorated female multi-sport track and field athlete in the school’s history behind only Ali McKnight, a two-time Olympic trials qualifier who finished second in the heptathlon at the 1995 NCAA Championships.
Looking back at how her journey got started, Wadden said she’s happy to have ended her career on a positive note.
“It’s kind of creepy to look back and think about how it all started, where I am now, where I came from living in a different country,” she said. “It’s still kind of creepy, but it took a lot of hard work.
“It was a fun time, it was a really great experience and I learned a lot through the process. I’m really glad it all worked out and it ended on such a high note.”
When asked if she ever envisioned having this much accomplishment in post-secondary athletics.
“In high school I was pretty good at track, but I never really thought I would become this good,” said Wadden. “I think most people from a young age especially in the U.S., with how the sport system is setup they dream of becoming an ‘All-American’ but I didn’t even know it was a thing.”
Wadden said she chuckled and put her head down for a bit after finding out how close she came to being a first team All-American. Her family were in attendance at the NCAA championships.
“Five points is not a lot,” she said.
She believes being a second team ‘All-American’ means more to someone like herself.
“I think it means more knowing I didn’t grow up doing track everyday like a lot of the track athletes in America have,” said Wadden. “I definitely had a different kind of upbringing with sports at home than in America.”
What’s next for Wadden? She isn’t sure—and it may not include a return to home cooking in Fall River anytime soon.
“I am still trying to figure that out. I’m not 100 per cent sure if I’m going to do track anymore,” she said. “My body is pretty beat up from doing it everyday for five years.
“I really like it here (Nevada). It’s definitely nice to wake up to sunshine every day.”