By Chris Shaddock
Within any race ran by DeSales’ men’s cross country team, the most interesting moment is seeing sophomore Will Summers. Typically hanging out of the front group of the race, he is an elf compared to the much larger runners. Despite this, he slips and shoves his way through packs of people and hawks down every runner he can at the finish line.
Most would not assume Summers is a runner, and even more would not assume he was likely faster than them, but Summers has a talent and drive for running that most people would kill for.
In his freshman year of cross country, Summers ran his 8K race personal record at the 2017 NCAA Division III Mid-East Regionals and in his sophomore year he placed 14th at the MAC Championships with a time of 27:20.
In indoor track, his best times were 9:13 for the 3000-meters and 15:56 for the 5000-meters. For outdoor track, his best times were 15:57 in the 5000-meters and 33:10 in the 10,000 meters.
He is one of the fastest long distance runners on the team, on average, taking second for the team in cross country races.
Summers began his interest in running when his mom signed him up for a 5K race in eighth grade. Summers had never really raced prior to that but trained with his mother to prepare. Summers, who described himself as “a lazy couch potato,” placed second in the race, and began to suspect he might actually be good at running.
“After that race, I’ve had both teachers and parents telling me to run cross country,” said Summers. “Next I know, I am getting recruited by the captain of my high schools’ team.”
His most memorable race was in his senior year of high school when he ran in the NJSIAA State Meet of Champions for cross country.
“I’m one of the only people at my school to run at the Meet of Champions,” said Summers. “The reason I find it so memorable is because during the second half of the race I fell, and swear I was pushed. I tumbled on a bunch of rocks that scraped all the way up my arm and leg, yet despite that I still got up and finished the race. Honestly, it was falling down, getting back up, and finishing the race all the way to the end is what made it memorable, because it spoke a lot about me.”
Summers chose to run at DeSales because he found the school fit all his requirements. He wanted a small school, in a quiet area, where he could relax and stay private. He was also looking for a team to run on, which he found at DeSales.
“I have no complaints for DeSales,” said Summers. “It is nice and small, so it is easy to get around, the food is good, the professors are nice and are actually willing to help.”
For Summers, running is a hobby. It is something he can do and something he does well. His drive to run is always to be the best runner he can be and always do better than the year he did before.
His real passion is writing. Summers spends a lot of his time writing fictional stories throughout all different genres.
“I feel so compelled when I am writing my own stories,” said Summers. “It is more like I am creating my own universe where I control where it starts and ends. I try to think of the characters as best I can, but also like to tell a good story to top it off. Sometimes I try to think about the stories I am writing, when I am running. I always feel when I am moving around a lot, I become very active mentally and physically.”
At the moment, he is studying to be a journalist. While he started his freshman year as a computer science major wanting to design video games, Summers found the work to be too overwhelming for him and thought he would do better in a major that involved more writing.
“My teammates are good, but weird,” said Summers. “Some of the weird stuff they say gets on my nerves so much. I do not even know where they come up with this stuff. But when you put aside the weird stuff, they are nice to be around. There is always something interesting to talk about. I tend to be a very antisocial person, but whenever I have a conversation with someone, I just want to keep going.”