* Nicholas Spikes has emerged this track and field season as name that bears repeating.
Photo Credit: Rachel Glauber/MileSplit
"I've surpassed my goals already. Now how far do I want to go? At this point, I'm not worried if I'm first or in the top 10. I just want the top."
by Olivia Ekpone - MileSplit
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Who is Nick Spikes and how did he become one of the top indoor sprinters in the country in just one year's time?
First, it's important to understand just how far he's come.
The Paint Branch (MD) senior was tied for 50th in Maryland in the 55m with a time of 6.63 last year. He was No. 27 in the 300m with a time of 35.76.
In 2024? He's ranked No. 3 in the 200m and No. 4 in the 300m. Mind you, that's across the United States.
In his very first race of his senior year, Spikes turned heads with his 33.57 in the 300m. That time still stands as one of the top 31 performances of all-time in high school.
He backed that sprint up with an effort of 21.27 in the 200m week later to win the Marine Corps Holiday Classic. He ran 21.20 just a few weeks later.
"I was not expecting that at all," said Spikes, reflecting on his 200m debut. "The last time I ran indoors I went 22.39. I didn't think I was running that fast. It felt like I ran maybe a 22. I didn't think it was close to a sub-21. Fast forward to the VA Showcase, and I set a personal best again. I might go sub-21 this year. I might do it."
Things are different now. Spikes is No. 2 in Maryland in the 55m (6.40) and the 300m and No. 1 in the 200m.
Not only does he have our attention, but the University of Connecticut and Kentucky have him on their radar as well.
* Nick Spikes recently reflected on how he developed into the athlete he is today
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But the road was never smooth for Spikes.
While he played football since he was in the eighth grade, his love for track blossomed in 2022. Unfortunately, he suffered a hairline fracture last fall during his junior season, which forced him to have a light indoor campaign.
Last spring he was able to finish the outdoor season with his first-ever MPSSAA 4A outdoor state title in the 400m, where he set a lifetime best of 47.80. He also finished third in the 200m and fourth in the 100m as he stopped the clock with times of 21.92 and 10.90 seconds, respectively.
This year he decided to take a different approach as he asked himself how he wanted his future to look.
The answer he told himself was simple. He just wanted to rebound after his injury.
After thought and consideration, Spikes decided to hang up his football cleats and be 100-percent into running.
"I was trying to go into the season trying to rebound off of last year since I didn't have an indoor season," Spikes said. "This is a rebound, but I didn't think it was going to go like this."
His head coach Funmi Daramola and sprint coach Alvin Pridgeon came together and made up a game plan.
It consisted of a sprinter's worst nightmare. Running cross country.
"All I need is a hard 20 minutes," Pridgeon remembers telling Spikes and his team before the start of the season.
Spikes ran three races and finished with a 5K best of 21:17 at the Montgomery County Cross Country Championships. He ended up bouncing back and forth between the team's fifth and sixth finisher.
But it ultimately served him well. Spikes became laser-focused on his sprint mechanics so he could be the best version of himself.
"We were focusing on the most on form and strength overall," Spikes said. "We focused on stride frequency and we were focused on every detail. We hit hills all the time. The training was worth it."
Training this year for the first time without football, the results have been better than expected.
"I've surpassed my goals already," Spikes said. "Now how far do I want to go? At this point, I'm not worried if I'm first or in the top 10. I just want the top."
* At the VA Showcase, Nick Spikes ran a personal best of 21.20 in the 200m to win the USATF race
What's Next For Spikes:
Spikes is scheduled to compete at the MPSSAA Maryland State Indoor Championships in Landover from February 20-21. The unsigned senior plans on running at New Balance Nationals Indoor and has his eyes set on competing at the USATF U20 Championships in late June.