Getting to know Kapaun’s Nolan Hesse
Kapaun cross country
Hesse, a senior at Kapaun Mount Carmel, has been the Crusaders’ No. 1 runner since his freshman season. He took seventh in the Class 5A meet as a junior.
You were a football player growing up, so how did you get into cross country?
“In middle school for us, you can’t do football until you’re a seventh grader, so I went out and did cross country (in sixth grade). I found I had some talent and enjoyed it. I wasn’t scared to go out for football, but I was kind of nervous. I like running a lot, and I knew more people on the cross country team than on the football team. I decided I’ll stay in my comfort zone, and that year I started to blossom, and I was a runner.”
You have also been a freestyle swimmer for Kapaun’s team. How has swimming helped you in cross country?
“It’s really good for runners, aerobically.… It’s the toughest sport because you’re using every muscle at one time, and you’re going against the elements, in the water. It will help the cardio, and it’s a lot of technique. It gives you the cardio workout without the pain on the joints.”
You don’t play basketball for Kapaun, but you love the sport, don’t you?
“I play pickup games at the (YMCA), play in the backyard with my friends. It’s my recreational thing. I love basketball. I love playing. It’s relaxing just playing it. It’s one of my favorite sports to play. I’m a competitive guy, and my friends are competitive.… I can’t do it in high school, so I do it as much as I can when I’m not training, do it in the offseason so I don’t hurt myself.”
Your cousin, Luke, is a sophomore on the cross country team, while Jacob, your brother, is a junior. Do you enjoy having Jacob on the team?
“We’re pretty close. He’s kind of like my right hand on the team. He’s second runner, and I go to him if there’s any questions that the team doesn’t want to say to me. We’ll do everything together, swimming, track and cross country. He wants to beat his older brother, which is what every younger brother wants to do, and no older brother wants to lose to his younger brother. It’s that driving force.”
What is your role as a senior leader?
“I see so many people with potential to be good leaders, and the whole senior thing has gone to their heads. As a senior you have more responsibility, and your responsibility is taking care of the younger kids and teaching them how to come along. Put egos aside and put them before you. You’re a senior, you have one more year, but they have one, two, three more years ahead of them, and you need to help them get through it.”