Noah Lawrence’s relentless work ethic takes him to UNK
Scouts senior Noah Lawrence (center) signs his letter of intent to run track and field at UNK. He is joined by his parents Joe Lawrence (left) and Liz Lawrence (right).
SAM FICARRO, THE COLUMBUS TELEGRAM
Senior scout Noah Lawrence, one of the most accomplished runners in school history, signed Wednesday to run cross country and track and field at Nebraska-Kearney.
Lawrence is three months removed from capping off his high school career with his first state medal in Kearney.
“It feels great. It’s a huge relief off my shoulders,” Lawrence said. “UNK has been a big dream of mine since I was little. They’re a solid school, so I’m proud to be there.”
He said he approached UNK after his sophomore year to ask what it would take to sign there. As he continued to climb the ranks in Class A, the opportunity came true after he won a state medal in November.
For Lawrence, the signing marks a full-circle moment.
“I’m from around there. It’s where I’m from. My cousin ran for UNK and when I went on my visit, I got to talk to the coach. Talking to the coach was great. It was amazing,” he said. “He had the whole team out to lunch with me. It was fun. They were all fun to talk to and I just bonded with them. I got to watch them run a few times with my cousin and it always made me liked it.”
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Senior scout Noah Lawrence runs toward the finish line at the state cross country meet in Kearney on Oct. 21. Lawrence captured his first state medal by placing 11th.
SAM FICARRO, COLUMBUS TELEGRAM PHOTO
Lawrence captured that elusive state cross country medal in the fall after finishing just short of the podium the previous two years. He placed 24th in 2020 and 18th in 2021 before crossing the finish line in 11th place with a time of 16 minutes, 21.4 seconds on October 21.
The senior was the first boys cross country medalist in nine years and he owns the three fastest state meets in school history. Lawrence said winning the state medal is the thing he is most proud of.
“It’s been probably the best four years of my life so far. Columbus has done a lot for me. A lot of them have supported me,” Lawrence said. “This whole school, everyone has been so supportive. The coaches have been some of the best coaches I’ve ever had. I really got close to a lot of people here.”
Lawrence collected 22 cross country medals, including the first two Heartland Athletic Conference medals in school history. He also set the school record for career and season Olympia conquests, the most accomplished by a runner in a single career and season.
He finished his career with 1,667 Olympia strikeouts, surpassing Trevor Urkoski’s 14-year record of 1,486. Lawrence’s single-season Olympia hits of 647 broke Morgan Penn’s record of 595 from 2014.
“The number of calls I got, ‘Wow, Smith. That was great for Noah (Lawrence) to get a state medal.’ People who understand cross country and understand what he’s going for, the fact that he medaled is really impressive ” Discoverers Cross Country Coach Stacy Smith said. “It was a tough day to run just from the number of kids that were cut back and the number of kids that didn’t compete close to what they were. I think Noah just finished a great career for us as a cross country runner. that point.”
Lawrence also found success in track and field, qualifying for the state meet in Omaha for the first time last year as a member of the 3,200-meter relay team.
The team returns three of the four runners on that relay team after placing 13th last season.
“I think his expectations are kind of like mine. He’s going to get back into shape. They didn’t medal last year, but I think for him it just got there last year,” the boys track coach said. Columbus. said Scott Bethune. “Now that he’s gotten there, now our sights are set on setting up and awarding medals, which would be complementary to what he did in cross-country.”
Both Smith and Bethune praised Lawrence’s leadership and work ethic as an example to other athletes. Lawrence said his work ethic came from his parents.
“They weren’t always good,” Lawrence said. “My parents grew up without a lot of money. They always worked hard to get where we are now as a family. I think I took it from there.”
Lawrence said he has been working with assistant coach Chris Sander in preparation for the spring track season. He said his legacy in Columbus goes beyond athletic achievements.
“My impact is not my stats and everything I’ve done,” Lawrence said. “I think my impact is leading this team and being able to show what it should be and show what they should do and help these young kids and just support them. Even though they’re competitors, it’s one thing I like to do. after every meet, I sit there and I like to congratulate everybody.”
Sam Ficarro is a sports reporter with The Columbus Telegram. Contact him by email at [email protected].
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