Bailey Nock is one of the most decorated female distance athletes to come out of Iowa in recent years. After seven top-five finishes at State meets, including three individual State Champion titles, multiple All-State relay titles, and a runner-up team finish, many suspected the Iowa City West athlete would commit to a Division I school. But when it came down to it, the Trojan athlete was skillfully private about revealing her options until announcing her final decision - to join the University of Colorado Buffs along with former teammate Valerie Welch.
How would you describe your high school running career in one sentence?
The memories I've made I'll never forget and the lessons I've learned I'll use for the rest of my life.
What has been the most fulfilling part about being a student-athlete?
Meeting different people throughout the years. Most of my best friends are on the team and I get to see them at school too, which is really nice. You go through practice and competing together and form a connection every summer before school even starts. Being teammates forms a connection a classroom could never create.
What is your favorite XC memory? And your favorite track memory?
My favorite XC memory was senior night. We had a potluck with a ton of food and the underclassmen made all of the seniors blankets and wrote us letters. The food was amazing and it proved once again how lucky I am to have teammates like them.
My favorite track memory is winning the Distance Medley Relay at state last year. Winning individually is an amazing feeling but getting to celebrate with your teammates makes it that much better. We were all hugging and super happy because we did it together and we all got to feel the feeling of being the best in the state.
When did you start dreaming about running in college?
Growing up I did a variety of sports. I've always dreamed about being a D1 athlete. I think once I was a freshman and I realized how much I like to run, I realized running was my true passion and I made it a goal of mine to get the attention of college coaches so I could hopefully compete at the D1 level.
What schools were you considering for your collegiate career? What finalized your decision to pick Colorado?
My final choices were Missouri and Penn State along with Colorado. It was a really tough decision because I could see myself going to all of those schools. All of them would've been a good fit for me but It was important to choose the best fit. I chose Colorado because I trust that the coaches there will help me become the best runner I can possibly be, and I felt like I would fit in most there.
You have a personal history in Colorado. Tell us more about that.
Both of my parents graduated from the University of Colorado. I was born in Boulder and I lived there until we moved to Iowa City when I was 3. I grew up cheering for the Buffs and I've known the fight song since I can remember. However we wanted to make sure I didn't let this bias affect my choice because although I love Boulder, how I got along with the team and how I fit in academically was more important than how big of a fan I was.
How do you feel about returning to the state of Colorado?
I'm really excited. I've lived in Iowa way longer than I lived in Colorado however I've always been proud to say I'm from Colorado because of the amount of positivity shown towards the state due to how beautiful it is.
How have your family and friends responded to your commitment?
My friends and family were really happy for me. My extended family is excited to have me living so close to them next year because they'll have a better chance at seeing me run. My friends were really excited for me even if they aren't that involved in running. Everyone stayed out of the decision and although many gave their input, they let me decided where I wanted to go and let it be completely up to me.
Did your former teammate Valerie Welch help with your decision?
It was really helpful to have someone actually on the team as my friend because I knew she wouldn't sugarcoat it. If there was something about the program that I should know about that I personally might not like than she would've told me. Although she isn't a distance runner she still is a freshman there so it was really nice to have an athlete on the teams opinion whenever I needed it.
What are your goals for your final high school track season?
I want to win a team state title. Individual titles are amazing and I'll never take any of those for granted, but I've never been a part of a team who's come out on top. We got second last year and although we lost some good seniors, we have more freshman than the other three grades combined who I think will definitely have a positive impact for our team this year.
What about your hopes for your collegiate abs post-collegiate running career?
I chose Colorado because I feel Coach Wetmore and Coach Burroughs will help me reach my goals on the conference and national level. They're very experienced and well known for helping athletes to reach their potential. I'm excited to join the program and see how much I can drop my times and hopefully compete at the national level.
Colorado also has many alumni that run professionally now. I grew up watching Jenny Simpson [formerly Barringer] run and even saw her run at the Drake Relays run for Colorado when I was younger. With the history of athletes going pro out of Colorado, I know I'm in the right hands.