Ready for the long run

Senior juggles academics and athletics


Holland Rainwater

Senior Nabil Kalam runs at the Trinity cross country meet back in the fall. Kalam has been a member of the cross country team for two years.

Story by Caden Rainwater, staff writer

His alarm buzzes when the clock reads 5:30 a.m. He slowly makes his way out of his bed to pack up the homework he was up late working on the night before, throws on his running clothes, and mentally prepares himself for the cross-country practice that awaits him at Spring Lake Park. Soon, out the door he goes; textbooks in one hand and running shoes in the other.

For the near graduate, Nabil Kalam, life is packed with the pressures of maintaining his high class rank — which he has held since the end of his freshman year — and running on the varsity cross-country and track squad. He pushes his limits for the one true goal he has sought from a very young age — the idea of pursuing the most successful route of life.

“I’ve known that I’m good [academically], so I spend a lot of my time pushing my limits in track and cross-country,” senior Kalam said. “I just want to be the best possible version of myself.”

His talent for running originally showed itself during his elementary school field day, which separated itself from the normal elementary school field day filled with games and teamwork. This ordinary field day related itself more to a track meet than anything else. The event was set up as a high school track meet, with multiple different running events for all of the kids. Kalam finally had the opportunity to show his speed to his teammates.

“I always did really well in those races, which I believe gave me an advantage once I joined athletics,” Kalam said. “Although I could medal in track meets, soccer was the sport that I had always had a deep passion for.”

Despite the fact that he found his athletic advantage when he was younger, he didn’t pursue running until he joined the cross-country and track team in seventh grade. After only a quick year of long-distance running in middle school, his track career took an unexpected break as his family moved from Alpine to Texarkana, Texas. Once he arrived at Texas High, he chose to play soccer, until he made his return to the track team his junior year.

“I chose soccer partially because it is my favorite sport, but it also kept me fit,” Kalam said. “I really took a three-year break from long-distance running, [but] if I had continued running, I would be much more equipped to compete than I am now.”

Almost eight years before Kalam ran his first ever competitive race, he was taught many skills that prepared him to accept and value public education. Although Kalam’s parents are very proud of his athletic accomplishments, school has always been the most important factor in their son’s life.

“My motivation for running comes primarily from myself,” Kalam said. “My parents are really heavy on how I do academically.”

Any high schooler can tell you that keeping a high rank is nearly impossible. The stereotypical scholar is seen as a quiet and collected person who has a small number of extracurriculars in order to have a time advantage above his or her peers. However, in Kalam’s case, extracurriculars are what he chooses to surround himself with.

“My parents built the foundation which caused me to get good grades early on; I simply became a fast learner later,” Kalam said. “I enjoy the idea of always being able to pursue a better version of myself, whether it be through school or through running.”

Looking into the next steps in life, Kalam has made his final decision on joining the University of Texas in the fall on scholarship.