Photo: Ashville High School senior Nick Spears recently agreed to compete with the University of Mobile track and field team as a preferred walk-on. Pictured, sitting, from left: Nick’s mom Jennifer, Nick, Nick’s dad Rick. Standing, from left: AHS wrestling coach James Browning, AHS track and field coach Mike Adams, AHS track and field coach Michele Rogers, AHS wrestling coach Shane Carter. (Courtesy of Sera Beth Potter)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Nick Spears is headed to the Port City for the next few years.
The 2021 Ashville High graduate earned preferred walk-on status to compete in the pole vault and javelin events at the University of Mobile.
Spears placed second in the pole vault at the Class 4A state track and field meet on April 30 in Gulf Shores. His final attempt (and a season PR) of 11-06.00 clinched the silver medal. Spears medaled in all seven pole vault events this past season, including two first-place gold and three second-place silver performances.
“It was an awesome feeling,” Spears said of finishing second in the state. “It was great competing against the Randolph guys (who finished first and third). They were pretty good. It was great being able to get on the podium.”
Spears honed his pole vaulting skills over the past two seasons with periodic trips to Albertville High School, where he received tips from coach Jason Michael.
“You have to know how to hold the pole, how to do certain kinds of steps, how to get a good run down and how to get a good plant, and he helped me figure all that out. He helped me a ton.”
Although he was planning on attending UM before the 2021 track and field season, his many medals during the season drew the attention of the Rams’ coaching staff, who invited Spears on the team.
“I love the campus, but I also love the community of the university and how everyone knows everyone else,” he said. “It’s a lot like Ashville.”
AHS track and field coach Michele Rogers considers Spears a natural athlete who finally found his niche. Spears also helped the AHS wrestling team win the Class 1A-4A state championship in February.
“During his Ashville career, I think Nick’s played just about every sport at the school. He put his while heart I it and gave it his best, and it showed. Hard work does pay off. Nick is one of those kids that doesn’t say a whole lot but leads by example. He was also really good about helping the younger kids in pole vault, and basically coaching them. I definitely think he’ll be an asset at [Mobile].”
Spears appreciated how Rogers created a positive atmosphere for him and his track and field teammates.
“It’s just like a big a family, and I love being part of that,” he said. “Everyone supports everyone.”