We Salute Liam Neidig, Lansing High School

Name: Liam Neidig
School: Lansing High School

Q: What does your training look like right now given the current situation?
A: My coach posted the workouts for the season online, so I am working off of those with some modifications because there are no competitions.

Q: What are you doing to stay busy other than run right now?
A: I have my own 3D printer so I am doing a lot of work with that. I've also been working on the armor from Halo 3 for my next comicon.

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?
A: The regional for cross country this year was the most memorable for me. It was the first time I broke the 16 minute barrier which is something I wanted to do for all of high school. I hadn't hit an all time PR that season so I thought I was too heavy or that I was doing something wrong, but I just had to dig deep to accomplish my goals.

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?
A: It was Freshman year and my first varsity race ever. I ran really well the week prior and was able to move up into our top seven. The race was at Wyandotte County Park and it had rained and poured the night before. About 200 meters after the mile marker there was a very large mudflat. I slipped and fell hard. This resulted in about half my body being covered in mud. When I finished the race, I was no longer on varsity. However, the next week at Turner, I won the JV race and made it back onto varsity.

Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
A: My teammate, Terry Robinson, was my biggest competition. I met TJ freshman year and we never ran against each other in middle school. I wasn't a distance kid at the time and we went to different middle schools. TJ is only 10 days older than me, he has an older sister who is the same age as my older sister, and he is also from a military family. All in all, we were pretty similar, especially freshman and sophomore year when our PRs were almost identical. As we grew older, we specialized in different events to cover a wider breadth of events in order to score more points. We are now both school record holders and I don't think that could have happened if not for always having a consistent competitor and battle buddy throughout all of high school.

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?
A: In running, it would be breaking the 16 minute barrier in the 5k. In my life in general, it would be earning the rank of Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts.

Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
A: I would take winter running more seriously. When I was younger, I wasn't as serious about the off season and I think that impeded some of my growth. I also would have started doing AAU and the Steeplechase earlier in my career.

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
A: I have a stomach disease called gastroparesis. My stomach is partially paralyzed. I didn't get this diagnosis until Junior year of high school. My stomach was always hurting and so I didn't want to eat at all. I was at a nutrition deficit and it wrecked my performance for a season. Learning to live with this disease has certainly been an obstacle, but it has taught me to be the best that I can be in spite of my ailments.

Q: What will you miss the most?
A: I will miss the younger athletes who I took under my wing. When I was a freshman, there was a senior on the team named Colin Dike. He wasn't the fastest runner ever but he took me under his wing and taught me what it meant to be a runner and a hard worker. When he graduated I vowed to pass his knowledge on to the next generation of Lansing runners, along with things I had learned along the way. I see the kids who I taught about running as an extension of myself. I am so excited to see them grow and shatter my records, but I am heartbroken because I won't be with them to guide them along.

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?
A: Work hard. Put your head down and grind. The only way to be the best at something is to be the person who is working the hardest. If you want to be good at this, be prepared to make sacrifices. Everyday that you aren't working, there is someone else out there working hard to beat you. Also, fix your arms.

Q: What kind of an impact has your coach had on you and your team?
A: My coach is a great facilitator and he is a realist which helps for critical strategy analysis.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I am continuing my academic and athletic career at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and I plan to study Computer and Electrical Engineering. I am signed to run cross country and track for UMKC.

Q: Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
A: I want to say thank you to my parents for always supporting me and never missing a meet. I want to say thank you to all of my coaches of which I've had many. I would not be the person I am today without your guidance. I want to thank Kaley Smith for taking me to my first ever 5k, beating me by multiple minutes, enlightening me to the world of cross country, and making me into a runner. I want to thank God for helping me through all my difficulties and putting trials in my life to make me a better person.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
A: These are the things I say to myself every morning: "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Q: Favorite Meal?
A: Chicken and Rice. It is simple and it doesn't hurt my stomach. It's good for you and it's what champions are made out of.

Q: If you could be any animal what would you choose? and why?
A: I would be an Ossifrage (Gypaetus barbatus) because it looks really cool and it can fly.

Q: Your favorite superhero?
A: Spiderman. I love Spiderman because anyone could be behind the mask. He's also very quippy which is great. I also may or may not have a custom made spiderman costume.