The rise to the top: Sioux City North’s Gabe Nash caps off high school career with a special win

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:36 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - If you’ve been to a local Iowa high school track meet, the Drake Relays, or the state track and field meet, you’ve probably seen Sioux City North’s Gabe Nash putting on a thrilling performance.

“Just the opportunity to win, I guess. And just to have fun, get a PR, run my best,” said Gabe Nash, Sioux City North distance runner.

His journey at North has meant a lot to him, and his family. It didn’t happen overnight, in fact it took his dad and former longtime Morningside track & field coach David Nash being persistent to slowly ignite the passion.

“I first started running when I was like, a really young kid, like seven, because my dad was always running. And so I would jog a little bit, and then I would just tell him I hate it so much,” said Gabe Nash.

“I took him to my track in Des Moines. I said, ‘This is where it started. This is where my passion propelled. This is where it all happened.’ And I said, ‘Let’s do a timed quarter. Let’s go, let’s do something. Let’s get the fire going.’ And he says ‘I want to go home. I’m done with this.’ Okay, that’s okay, too soon, too soon. So we backed off,” said David Nash, Sioux City North distance coach, Gabe’s father.

David Nash gives advice to his son Gabe at a young age.
David Nash gives advice to his son Gabe at a young age.(The Nash Family)

What Gabe didn’t realize was that his own dad had a thrilling career himself, from high school, to college, to taking Drake Relays wins in the Master 800. David Nash grew up in Des Moines, and would often walk over to Drake Stadium to watch the Drake Relays. He quickly became fascinated, and knew he wanted to run at the Drake Relays himself one day.

“So when I turned 40, having that flag was phenomenal, getting first place. And my son Gabe was just a little tyke, and he took that flag, and he played with it, and he colored on it. And I don’t want to say ruined it, but it’s never been the same. So I said, ‘Son someday you’re gonna repay this and get me another flag,” said David Nash.

Gabe grew up and began to develop his own record-breaking career. When toeing the line before a big race, he doesn’t think, he just simply goes.

“If I think about it too much, I get super nervous. So I just try to stay in the moment and just make my move when it counts,” said Gabe Nash.

Gabe Nash put in plenty of hours and hard work on track and brought some goals and dreams to life alongside the help of a very special coach.

During Gabe’s junior season of track and field, an opportunity came up for his dad, David, to become the distance coach. Ever since then it’s been his goal to help every athlete reach their full potential.

“Not only do I get to see these awesome performances, but I kind of feel the energy and electricity between them and myself, and the competitors, and people that didn’t make it on the track that day. It’s all a circle, and to have even a small spoke and be a part of that, it’s an honor,” said David Nash.

“Yeah, it definitely helps us a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever had a race where he wasn’t there,” said Gabe Nash.

David Nash and Gabe Nash smile after Gabe's win at the state track & field meet
David Nash and Gabe Nash smile after Gabe's win at the state track & field meet(Nash Family)

Gabe Nash holds school records in 400, 800, 1600, 3200. He also is a part of school records on two relay teams. He won state championships individually and on relay teams, even a Drake Relays win in the 4x800 relay. But he was motivated to win his own individual Drake Relays flag.

“It just feels so good to finally get one of these, I’ve just wanted this so bad, and it just feels awesome,” said Gabe Nash from Drake Relays on April 29th.

On April 29th, after finishing as runner up in 3200 and third in the 800, Gabe Nash kicked to the finish to take the win in the 1600, becoming the first Sioux City North boy individual runner to win a Drake Relays flag.

“That was the first time I’ve ever seen my dad cry, actually. Because, like the Drake Relays are just a huge thing for us, and it just meant everything. It was so awesome,” said Gabe Nash.

David Nash coached 20 years at Morningside, but never did he coach a Drake Relays champion. Until his son Gabe crossed the line.

“It was almost too big of a deal. It’s just a race. But at that time, it wasn’t just a race. It was everything connecting from when he was a little kid all the way up to today,” said Dave Nash.

David Nash and Gabe Nash share a special hug after Gabe won the 1600m at the Drake Relays.
David Nash and Gabe Nash share a special hug after Gabe won the 1600m at the Drake Relays.(KTIV)

Gabe is set to run at the University of Nebraska next season, but he will always cherish these life lessons.

“In everything you do in life, just never give up and just give it your all,” said Gabe Nash.

His chapter at North may be closing, a new chapter is just beginning.