Nate Kolacia ’16. Photograph by Joanna Silverman.

Nate Kolacia ’16 ran the second-fastest indoor mile in school history (4:20.98) at Wartburg on Saturday. This led to his selection as Midwest Conference Track Athlete of the Week. His time was less than 4 seconds off the school record of 4:17.10, set by Rob Park in 1999. Kolacia now holds the fastest mile time in the Conference. He also is number six on Grinnell’s all-time list in the 800m (1:57.63), the fourth-fastest time in the MWC.

How is your hometown of Fort Dodge, IA, different from Grinnell?
It’s a little bigger, but not much. It’s not quite as nice, but pretty much the same in a lot of aspects—really small, middle of nowhere in Iowa.

Why did you choose Grinnell?

I applied to a lot of other small, DIII schools like Wartburg, Central, Simpson and Loras. I was half and half on [whether I wanted to run]. I also applied to Iowa in case I didn’t want to run. Then Will [Freeman, men’s cross country and track and field coach] contacted me and I decided I could get a good education and run, so it was a pretty easy choice.

What other sports have you done besides cross and track?
In high school, I played basketball through sophomore year and baseball (outfield/utility) through senior year. I decided on track and cross because running was my best sport.

What’s your favorite class at Grinnell?

I like the sciences because I like how understanding how the world works.

What do you enjoy doing at Grinnell besides running?

Hanging out with my friends, playing Game of Thrones, reading Game of Thrones … that’s pretty much it.

What are your season aspirations?
I would like to get down to a 4:10 mile or the 1500m equivalent for the outdoor season. I would like to possibly break the school record for indoor for the mile. I would like to continue to get better and stay healthy.

What are your running career aspirations at Grinnell?
Qualify for Nationals in the mile. I’d like to be an All-American for cross sophomore year.

What’s the best part about running cross and track?
It’s a really nice community to hang out with immediately, a good social group.

What’s your favorite food?

Ice cream … raspberry chocolate chunk, D-Hall style.

What are you planning to do for Spring Break? Summer plans?

For Spring Break, going on the Florida [track] trip. [For summer], running a lot, hopefully get a decent job.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Happy. That’s what I tell people because I don’t know. Most people are satisfied with that answer.

Who is your role model at Grinnell?
Evan [Griffith ’15] He has a really good work ethic and knows what’s important.

—Compiled by Jacqui Vautin, vautinja@grinnell.edu