By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Bailey Nock admits there were times during her sophomore season when she wasn’t confident enough in herself.
Nothing builds confidence like a little bit of winning.
Or in the case of Nock this spring, lots and lots of winning.
Nock won the Class 4A state cross country title last fall and the winning hasn’t stopped for the West High junior on the track this spring.
“I felt like during my sophomore year I was kind of going through the motions, I wasn’t very confident and my track season was not what I wanted it to be at all,” Nock said. “After state cross country I got a lot of confidence back in myself.”
After finishing third at the state cross country meet as a freshman and seventh as a sophomore, Nock broke through last fall winning the 4A title by more than three seconds.
That win in the fall, followed by increased training in the winter, has led to a much more confident Nock on the track this spring and the results prove it.
“Winning the cross country state title usually does something different to a person,” West High head cross country and track coach Mike Parker said. “When they put everybody in one race and you are the one winner it really builds some confidence.”
Nock has posted top-five in the state this season in the 3,000, 1,500 and 800 with career-best times in all three races.
She has also run on the West High 4x800 relay team that has the second fastest time in the state this spring.
“Coming off cross country it motivated me for track,” Nock said. “That just led right into track and I knew I had to go as hard as I could in training so it was helpful in motivation. Getting first I definitely didn’t relax it was more of wanting to build off of that.”
Nock has never appeared more motivated or dominant as she has the past two weeks.
She swept the distance event at the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi divisional meet, winning the 800, 1,5000 and 3,000 while helping West High to the team title.
“I really think her mentality has caught up with her talent now,” Parker said. “She works hard, she has a had a great winter.”
Nock followed up the impressive performance at the MVC divisional with an even more dominant evening at last week’s 4A state qualifier.
She again swept the distance events while running the 800 leg on the winning distance medley relay team to help West High win the team title.
“I thought it was going to help doing it last week but actually going to the events and seeing how to get ready for the next one was really helpful,” Nock said. “I was kind of scared that adding an event would take away from my individual but it didn’t so I was able to run the way that I wanted to.”
Nock didn’t just sweep the events, she dominated while reaching the state meet in four events.
She didn’t have a race closer than two seconds at the state qualifying meet, winning the 800 by three seconds and the 1,500 by four seconds as West High finished first and second in all three of her individual races.
“She won those individual events by a dominating margin, she has just become a beast,” Parker said. “She wants to win, she wants to bury people and be dominant.”
A year after placing fifth at state in the 800 and eighth in the 1,500, Nock enters the state meet this week at Drake Stadium in Des Moines with the top time in 4A in both the 3,000 and 1,500.
She has the second fastest 4A time this season in the 800.
“I’m excited for this season and think I’m in a good position going in,” Nock said. “Last season wasn’t what I wanted so I’m definitely looking forward to this year.”