D9Sports.com/EYT Media is doing a series of player profiles on returning high-school athletes this summer. The year in school listed by the athlete is the year the athlete is entering this fall.
(Photo by Matt Lerch)
NATHANIEL LERCH – SENIOR – CLARION
Son of: Matt and Tammy Lerch
Sports Played: Cross Country and Track & Field
Family Members Playing/Played Sports: His mom and dad both ran cross country and track in high school. His mom also played volleyball and basketball and his dad also played lacrosse. His sister Evelyn runs track and cross country for Clarion and also played basketball. His cousin, Josh Mitchell plays football and runs track. His grandma, Donna Cossel, played basketball.
2018-19 Highlights: Won the KSAC Championship and was named the conference MVP in Cross Country while placing third at the District 9 championships … Also placed third at the D9 track championships in the 3,200-meter run … Has qualified for the PIAA track and field championships in each of his first three seasons.
Post-High School Plans: He plans to run cross country and track in college, ideally for a Division 1 school. It has been his dream to go D1 since he watched his teammate Liam Raehsler do the same thing. He plans to run the 5K and the 10K on the track and he plans to major in Biochemistry to prepare him for Veterinary School.
Q&A With Nathaniel Lerch
D9Sports: What is your favorite sport to participate in and why?
NL: My favorite sport is cross country because my teammates and I have created such strong bonds by running together that we have become a family. They support me, cheer for me, and listen to me when I need it most. Overall, we all love running and running with other people who also love to run makes it so much more enjoyable and rewarding.
D9Sports: What is your favorite memory, moment, game from playing high school sports?
NL: My favorite memory from cross country is the moment when my team discovered at the District 9 Championships that the varsity boys team had officially qualified for States. Previously that day I hadn’t run my best race and was taking ownership for my teammates not qualifying for States. But when we discovered that our entire team qualified, I realized that the fate of my team doesn’t rest solely on my shoulders; every single teammate counted and scored that day because we made it by one point. That one point has shown me a lot since that day, and it’s a constant reminder that my teammates will always have my back.
D9Sports: Why do you play high school sports?
NL: I play high school sports not only to build relationships and better myself physically, but also to represent my school in the best way I can. I know that by doing by absolute best at every competition and practice, I am representing my school to the best of my ability in the hopes that they will be proud of my accomplishments completed under their name. Additionally, I do my absolute best to represent God in the best way I can, because He’s the one who gets me through all of my practices and competitions.
D9Sports: Who has had the most influence on your athletic career and why?
NL: My parents have definitely had the most influence on my athletic career because they both ran cross country and track in high school and support me as much as possible. Specifically, my Mom makes it a point to run every single day, despite her many injuries and ailments. She loves it so much that I eventually became curious about running when I was about 8 years old. Ever since, I have gradually run more and more with my Mom until I finally surpassed my goal of beating her in a 5K. Since then, I have gotten up to run alongside my Mom on every vacation, retreat and camp. She taught me the value of hard work and determination, overcoming any obstacle that stands in my way.
D9Sports: If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be and why?
NL: If I could change one thing about high school sports, I’d create a more cohesive administration that works together for the betterment of ALL SPORTS, not just one sport in particular. Additionally, I’d make a policy that permits volunteers to assist coaches for a sport in need. For example, if a team lacks funding to hire more coaches, then volunteers should be permitted to assist coaches (provided they are qualified and have proper clearances.) If the administration worked together, they could create teams that dominate because they aren’t wasting one drop of athletic potential.
D9Sports: If you could be president for a day, what would be the one major thing you would do?
NL: If I was President for one day, I would ban homework so that student-athletes can actually have a childhood without becoming sleep deprived. Despite the backlash from teachers, they would discover that test scores will actually increase because students will be forced to ask questions and actually understand the work they would normally take home and google the answers. If students actually understand the content, the teachers will feel much better because the school’s level of academic success will dramatically increase.
D9Sports: What is your ideal place to live? County, City, Suburb? Why?
NL: My ideal place to live is a suburban neighborhood with access to various running trails and parks so that I can run somewhere different every day. Also, this would be the ideal situation for raising my future family. I’d prefer for said suburban town to be relatively close to a city for the access to music and shows because music is a big part of my life.
D9Sports: What would someone who doesn’t know you be surprised to find out about you?
NL: If someone didn’t know me, they probably wouldn’t guess that I play the piano, trombone and violin. I have played the piano and trombone for 9 years and the violin for 5 years. I perform for various shows and weddings, as well as serving as the pianist for my school’s pit band for their musicals. After a long day at school and practice, playing the piano is my outlet and helps relieve any stress that I may have formed throughout the day.
D9Sports: What is your strongest subject in school?
NL: My strongest subject in school is math and science. Specifically, chemistry is my favorite having completed one chemistry course at the University of Pittsburgh this past year.
D9Sports: If there was one period in history or one event in history you could go back to, what would it be?
NL: One period in history that I would go back to is my week at RYLA, or the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards at Westminster College. It was a week I earned by submitting an application to my guidance counselor and it is only awarded to two students from each school in Clarion County by Clarion Rotary. The week consists of various team-building activities, as well as fantastic speakers. However, the reason I wish I was back at RYLA is because of the friends that I made during the week. Whether we were running together, learning together, crying together or laughing together, we did it all together. This has formed a family that I’ll have forever, and I am blessed to have them.
D9Sports: What question do you wish I would have asked you? And what is the answer to it?
NL: I wish you would have asked for our goals for the 2019-2020 season. My goal is to win the District 9 Championships in both cross country and the 3200, place in the top 5 at the cross country state meet, get recruited by my dream school and be the best team captain I can be.