From Irving, Texas, junior philosophy and classics major, Nico Walz has been running since 8th grade. Running for both cross country and track and field, Walz has dedicated his time at the University of Dallas to maintaining a balance in his life as a student-athlete.
“It’s been such a part of my life for so long and it really helps organize my day,” Walz said. “Also it’s a great way of getting rid of stress … and it keeps me in shape. So, for all those reasons, it’s really important to me and so I decided to keep [running] in college.”
Walz chose to commit to UD for the great books tradition, the Catholic culture that is heavily present on campus and of course to be able to continue his love for running.
From seeing freshmen reading the Homeric epics outside of Braniff, Open A’s cooking and their series of welcomes and athletes walking to get dinner with ice packs wrapped around them, these three reasons are weekly interactions that made UD’s culture stand out to Walz.
“Honestly, I chose UD firstly for the academics. I just wanted to go to a school with great books [and] tradition. So definitely, as a philosophy and classics major, UD is the perfect place to be,” Walz stated.
Originally, Walz was casually recruited by the coach after expressing interest in running on his application.
He shared, “I guess what I’ve just really loved about cross-country here is that I’ve actually continued to improve every single year which I wasn’t actually expecting. I thought I might have, you know, hit a plateau at some point but every season I’ve had an opportunity to set another personal record so that’s really been one of my favorite memories.”
One of the difficulties that come with being on the cross country team is certainly the early morning practices on top of all the typical responsibilities of a college student.
Walz said, “You have to make sure you’re up at like 5:45 in the morning. Four days a week of that and we do pretty heavy mileage. So, one day where you might be doing 12 miles and we’ve gone up to 15 miles, so that’s going to be tiring.”
Walz stressed the importance of eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep in order to keep up with the demanding life of a student-athlete. Budgeting time to make sure that he has time for academics and a social life outside of being an athlete is something Walz has learned.
Walz said “I would honestly emphasize that [running] has been so important to me that it would be hard to let go of it.” He maintains that the early mornings and any of the difficulties are all worth it to be able to run for UD.
One special memory that Walz has is running the original 26.2 mile marathon from Marathon to Athens in Greece during his Rome semester.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Walz. “It took me a long time, a lot longer than I was expecting or hoping, but I am open to one day running a marathon again.”
Once Walz graduates from UD, he plans to pursue a career in academia by getting a Ph.D. Notre Dame is his graduate school of choice and he hopes to teach in the future.
Walz emphasized that he is most passionate about UD’s intellectual life and his friendships, saying, “[Through] carrying out discussions with friends, UD is such a great place for forming real rich deep friendships. That’s been one of the things that I would not have necessarily guessed but that has been a real blessing.”