By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Director
TROY — Whenever Branden Nosker questions his decision, all he has to do is look outside and see the snow piled up to realize he made the right decision when selecting a college at which to attend school and run cross country.
“Honestly, weather was probably one of the top three reasons when I decided where to go to college,” the Troy High School senior said. “I hate running in the cold. I’ve been running on treadmills a lot the last month and I don’t really like it.”
Next fall, Ohio’s snow and cold will be a distant memory as Nosker joins in the Mississippi State University cross country and track teams. He’ll specialize in cross country, but also likely will compete in the 5K for the Bulldogs’ track and field team.
“It’s really kind of random — I took a lot of visits, but that’s where I felt the most at home,” Nosker said. “I also looked at LSU and Memphis — all schools in the South. I really wanted to get away from the cold. It’s about 10 hours away, but they’ve really got a family feeling down there. Plus it’s in the (Southeastern Conference), which means I’ll be competing against the best of the best.”
At Troy and within the Greater Western Ohio Conference, Nosker has become one of the best of the best the past two years. He’s a two-time state cross country qualifier and a two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference first-team selection.
“Brandon really started developing in the eighth grade,” Troy coach Bob Campbell said. “At the end of his eighth grade year, we had a pretty good group of boys and we took them to the state junior high meet. Brandon ran the 2-mile in 11:18, which was one of the top five times. So we knew the ability was there.
“I think in the last four years, Branden has really started realize how much work and dedication it takes to be a top-class distance runner. Ability only takes you so far. I think by his sophomore year, Branden realized if he wanted to take the next step, he would really have to step it up. From there, he really blossomed. When he went to state as a junior, that was sort of a tipping point for him; he realized he had the ability to run somewhere after high school.”
For Nosker, that place just happened to be in a decidedly warmer climate.
“I’m looking forward to going,” he said. “I’m excited.”
Contact David Fong at (937) 440-5228 or firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong.