Nick Efkamp: From small town to big stage


Photo: Huiling Wu/Iowa State Daily

Nick Efkamp stretches before practice on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Lied Recreation Center. 

Ryan Berg

Sophomore sprinter, Nick Efkamp, was not highly recruited coming out of high school. But this year, he became a Big 12 Champion.

During his senior year in 2011, Efkamp — who was from the small town of Madrid, Iowa — won four individual state titles in one year, a feat only six athletes has ever achieved. He won the 110-meter hurdles, the 100-meter dash, long jump and set the Class 1A meet record in the 400-meter hurdles (52.85).

“Iowa is pretty well-known for track because the state meet is held at Drake, but coming from a small school, I was not recruited as much as I would have been at a bigger school,” Efkamp said. “I’m really glad that Iowa State gave me a chance to show that I can run at the Division I level so I’m not too upset that I didn’t go to a bigger school.”

Coming from such a small school was not the only disadvantage of not getting highly recruited. Iowa’s weather does not allow for athletes to have a long season in track and field, forcing recruiters to concentrate on southern states more often.

“You have to look hard recruiting in Iowa because there are guys that have the attitude but don’t have as long [of] a season as people do in California or Texas, but Nick is definitely a guy that fits our program,” said ISU sprint coach Nate Wiens.

Coming from such a small high school, Efkamp did not have the privilege of practicing on a track every day and had to work out in front of the school on a circle moat made of cement.

“We also ran in the school’s hallways to practice the 4×1 handoffs,” Efkamp said. “It is a lot different now having an indoor and outdoor track to practice on, which is definitely a lot better for training.”

During his time in high school, Efkamp also participated in football, basketball and baseball for a few years along with running track.

“It was different from playing all of the sports in high school and now just concentrating on one sport in college,” Efkamp said. “Sometimes I miss the other sports, but I’ll still play them with my friends.”

Although he was involved in all of the sports, Efkamp knew after his junior year in high school that no other sport could beat his passion for track. Efkamp wanted to take his passion to the next level and began to take it even more seriously his senior year.

“I had a lot of people who believed in me and that is why I became so passionate about track and my hurdle coach in high school ran at [Northern Iowa] and became sort of an inspiration to me,” Efkamp said.

All of Efkamp’s supporters and the people that believed in him from the beginning had the opportunity to see him compete during the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships. The meet was held in Ames, roughly half an hour away from Efkamp’s hometown of Madrid.

During the meet, Efkamp ran a personal best 46.25 in the 400-meter dash on his way to becoming the Big 12 champion while also placing fifth in the 200-meter dash.

Growing up so close to Ames, many people watched Efkamp do well at the Big 12 Championships, just like his time during high school at the State Championships.

“All of my major wins have been really important for me, and I’ll remember each one differently,” Efkamp said. “Winning the Big 12 Championships was huge because it shows people that I wasn’t just here to say I ran track in college and was able to leave my mark, but I’m also not content with just one and hopefully I’ll be able to get one more or maybe a couple during the outdoor season.”