Running is a way of life for Eastlake Wolves’ senior Nate Pendleton.
Pendleton, who announced in mid-January that he will compete for the Washington State University Cougars men’s cross country and track teams next year, is always in constant motion. The mild mannered senior arrived for an interview at the Starbucks in Sammamish on Jan. 18 a few minutes late after getting caught in a plethora of stoplights on 228th Avenue.
Fortunately for Pendleton, there isn’t any stoplights on the oval of the track or on the trails in the milieu of cross country. Running is a soothing experience for him.
“For the past three years I have spent so much time alone on the trail. It gives you a lot of time to think. It is a peaceful sport compared to the others,” Pendleton said of cross country/track. “Running is all about having your own mindset. It is all in your head. It comes down to whether or not you are willing to push yourself that little bit more to to be able to get the time you wanted or the distance that you want.”
While Pendleton competed on the Eastlake cross country team in the fall 2014 as a freshman, he planned on playing for the Wolves soccer program in the spring of 2015.
That plan was derailed.
“I was going to play soccer instead of track,” Pendleton said of the spring of 2015. “I tried out and I didn’t make the team that I wanted. They said I was too small so I ended up switching over a week into the soccer season to track. I haven’t looked back since.”
Pendleton said he knew WSU was the place for him after his official visit. Pullman, where WSU is located, has a multitude of hills and a sizable amount of trails throughout the area.
“It is one of the main reasons why I decided on running at ‘Wazzu.’ We went out and saw the dirt roads. That was pretty enjoyable. There is amazing dirt roads out there and I will never have to run on pavement, which is amazing. I’m forced to run on pavement here (Western Washington region) sometimes when I can’t drive over to other places.”
Pendleton wants to do everything he can to help the Cougars track/cross country programs attain as much success as possible.
“I’m pretty excited about being able to represent the team in both sports,” he said. “Hopefully I can get points for the team, possibly help WSU get into a good position and possibly get nationally ranked again.”
Pendleton credited Wolves cross country head coach Troy Anderson, his mother Melissa Pendleton, distance runners Nathan Pixler, Addison Bryant and Connor Wilson for helping him develop into the runner he is today. Pendleton’s mother Melissa ran track at the University of Pacific in the late 1980s.
“Troy has always pushed me and always has believed in me,” he said. “He was able to look out for me and knew what was the right kind of training. My mom has always pushed me too. On days like today where it is really rainy, I possibly don’t have the same motivation as a sunny day and she pushes me. Some of my teammates, Connor Wilson specifically, has kept me company on most of my runs. Even on the runs he wasn’t able to do, he biked with me. It is really nice to have that kind of support from teammates.”