By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer
Westborough – For more than 20 years, Jeremy Nute has been committed to the runners of Westborough High School’s cross country team, quietly inspiring and encouraging the team to go the distance.
Anyone who has spent time at the athletic fields would recognize his quiet stature and easy smile. Continuing the legacy of Westborough Cross Country coaches before him, Nute works to inspire each member of the team to grow as a runner.
“We try and do a lot of work with recognizing the success that each member of the team has,” Nute said. “At the beginning of the season, we meet together as freshman, JV and varsity – we all train together. We’re looking to have everyone improve. It doesn’t matter if you’re running 16 or 30 minutes through the course; each kid may have improved. I explain to kids that we’re looking for everyone to get better and improve throughout the season.”
“I was a distance runner. I’ve always loved running trails and seeing the different trails and scenery. The fun part about the cross country season is that the whole team is running the same course. Everyone is at a different level, but they’re all doing the same thing at the same time. Unlike other sports, freshman, JV and varsity are all in it at the same time. It is a unique sport.”
Nute went to Westborough High School and ran cross country for four years. After college, he came back and started helping coaching in the season of 2003 and became head coach of the boy’s team in 2014.
The remarkable thing about the Westborough Cross Country program is that they don’t make any cuts. Still, the team’s record – especially in the last four years- shows tremendous success. A humble coach, Nute focuses on his athletes.
“My top kids this year are seniors; they’ve grown so much in the last four years. Their work ethic and love for the sport have helped them step up and run a lot faster,” he said.
To help foster a team spirit, Nute brings the freshman, JV, and varsity teams together for warmups and drills. After meeting with small groups of kids, he helps each athlete consider what they need to do to improve throughout the season.
“This year, I’ve been focusing more on the top 10 runners, so that we can strategize the race,” added Nute. “We talk about how they can prepare, and what they did on the last race. Those 10 guys run and do all of their workouts together. Those top kids are running at a different level, so they get a different kind of coaching.”
Nute has been helping the Cross Country team consider what it means to run a smart race.
“We can’t control what the other team is doing; all that we can do is control is how we run, and setting ourselves up to run the best race that we can. We’re really focused on that process; then whatever happens is what happens,” he said.
This mentality has been helping the team develop a winning mindset, on and off of the field.
“I have three wonderful captains, and the whole team is enthusiastic,” Nute said. “We’re doing well together as a team, but they started the season with this excitement. Our league meet is around the corner and we’re looking forward to that. In all three seasons of the sport, we haven’t lost a league meet in four years. It is truly impressive.”