LINCOLN – Most senior student-athletes claimed to be bitterly disappointed and frustrated, even despondent, when informed their final spring sports campaigns would be canceled amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19.
St. Raphael Academy soon-to-be graduate Nasavell Medeiros, however, has a different take on the matter.
“To be honest, I had mixed emotions,” stated Medeiros, a former All-Division, All-Class and All-State distance runner who would have experienced his last outdoor track season of his schoolboy career. “I started getting injured at the beginning of the indoor season, so I may have not been able to compete as well as I would’ve liked (this spring).
“This (cancelation) actually gives me time to rest up; now I’ve got some time to heal,” he added. “On the down side, now I’ll never know whether I could have come back, so that bothers me. I wanted desperately to see if I could get back to where I was in the distances, and I’ll never get that chance.”
He indicated the injury started in his left ankle immediately after the cross-country season last fall. He had been practicing the long jump inside at Alumni Hall one day when he said he landed awkwardly on a mammoth mat and ended up rolling his left ankle.
As time went on, the pain spread north to his knee. As a result, head coach Chris Magill had to be creative in maneuvering Medeiros to events he could run while trying to prevent any further damage.
In a nutshell, outside of cross-country, he didn’t have the kind of senior year he wanted, not in terms of scoring points, helping his team or making even more of a name for himself.
“I’m happy I now have time to rest up, but I’m crushed because I wanted to do well in the distance events in outdoor, something I really couldn’t do in indoor,” he noted. “I also wanted to run one final time with my teammates, who are like family to me. That’s both sides, the boys and the girls, everybody.
“I’m going to miss them all, from the newer runners who look up to you as a senior for guidance and leadership, and also your peers, who still help you and dive you to be better. There’s really nothing like it. We’re like brothers and sisters.”
To be sure, it didn’t take long for Medeiros to become known in these parts for his ability to run fast. In his first month or two of high school, he earned the City of Pawtucket individual cross-country championship after beating everyone in the annual SRA-Tolman-Shea tri-meet at Slater Park, and that success only multiplied over the years.
As a sophomore, he finished 14th at the state meet and, as a result, earned All-State second-team laurels. In indoor, he finished third in Rhode Island in the 3,000 meters and snatched All-State honors, while nailing down All-Division and All-Class accolades in the same event in outdoor.
His junior cross-country campaign didn’t go as planned, as he fell at the state championships, though made up for lost time after winning All-Division laurels in the 3,000 and 1,500 in indoor and the same in the outdoor 3,000.
After a more-than-respectable cross-country showing this past autumn (14th, good for All-State second-team recognition again), and following the nagging ankle injury, Medeiros had to help his squad in more unusual ways than in the past, and that bothered him, Magill explained.
“He came through the cross-country season pretty much unscathed,” he said of last fall. “He had been our No. 2 man behind Darius (Kipyego). As the injury started to get worse, he started to hurt more, that’s when we decided to get creative. I knew he couldn’t do his usual 1,500 and 3,000, those would beat him up, so we started putting him more in the relays and the 600. Those wouldn’t take such a toll on his ankle and knee.
“In typical fashion, Nas (pronounced NAHS) came up huge for us at (the Northern Division indoor meet),” he added.
In the opening 4 x 800 relay, he teamed with C.J. Magill, Colby Luiz and Adam Gomes to take third overall (8:52.92), then settled for third in the 600 behind teammates Kipyego and Pedro Mayol. Kipyego won it in 1:29.25, while Mayol clocked 1:29.64 and Medeiros 1:29.78, just .53 off of his premier teammate.
Talk about running through pain.
He later joined Joey Torres, Gomes and Devan Kipyego on the third-place 4 x 400 relay (3:50.22), which clinched for the Saints’ their third straight divisional crown.
At the R.I. Class C Championships, also at the Providence Career & Technical Academy fieldhouse, Medeiros again battled, combining with the younger Magill, Luiz and Andrew Worden to snag third in the 4 x 800 relay (9:12.08), but then tacked on a fifth in the long jump (19-1).
And, at states, he led off the fifth-place 4 x 400 relay quartet (including Mayol and the Kipyego brothers) that hustled to a 3:35.22 clocking.
That happened to set a new school record – and SRA captured the class title, too, with 97 points.
“He also ran at New Englands up at (the) Reggie Lewis (Center in Roxbury), despite the fact he was really sick,” Magill recalled. “His temperature was really high, and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to go (in the 4 x 200 relay). We didn’t have an alternate, so if he didn’t run, we’d have to scratch.
“All of the guys were nervous, but, naturally, Nas is a fighter; he ran ad did really well,” he added. “He came in with an approximate 23 split, which is close to his PR. Just to think, as sick as he was … He always came up at a lot of huge meets. We won three straight division championships, and we don’t do that with Nas. We won the class title, and we don’t do that without Nas.
“What makes him so special is the range of events he can run. That’s what makes him so valuable – his versatility. He knew how to race and put himself into position to score the most points and help the team. He’s been a true warrior for us over his four years.
“This outdoor (cancellation I’m sure is very disappointing to him. When you can’t finish your senior year the way you want to, the way it’s always been, that’s tough to accept, but I will say this: Nasavell Medeiros’ career has been remarkable, and that doesn’t do it justice. He’s one of the guys who have helped revitalize this boys’ program.”
According to Medeiros, he’s found a number of “hobbies” to help him get through the emotional pain.
First, he’s not doing a whole lot of running, obviously, because he wants the ankle and knee to heal, but he is lifting weights and doing dozens of exercises to remain in shape.
“I’m doing pushups, situps, crunches, planks, Jumping Jacks, pullups, primarily to keep me busy so I don’t go crazy, but also because we may have some (USA Track & Field, Inc.-affiliated) club meets this summer, and I want to compete,” he explained. “Not just that, but I’m also contemplating going back to football.”
Medeiros indicated, at this point in time, he’s going to Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. later this year, and is planning on trying to walk on the football team, then also the indoor and outdoor track programs.
“What I really want to do is break the school record in the 200 meters at Iona; I mean, I’m only two-three seconds off now,” he said. “I’ve got to call the coaches and touch bases with them, and the football coach, too, to iron out all the details.
“But I’m not 100 percent sure I’ll go to Iona; there’s always Manhattan College, and I got into Coastal Carolina, too, so I’m still deciding,” he added. “I do wherever I go, I want to run indoor and outdoor, and try football because I miss it. Before Saints, I had played eight years with the Mount Hope Cowboys.”
While his decision on where he attends college is still pending, he knows exactly what he wants to study: Business Management.
“I want to an entrepreneur; as of right now, I run my own sneaker business,” he said confidently. “I talk to people, and if they tell me they want sneakers, I ask them what brand, color and size, order it and resell it back to them at a profit.”
When asked it he’s named the company, he said he hasn’t, but that’s one of the next items on his “to do” list.
“I started doing that just recently, but I’m also interested in photography,” he offered. “My ultimate goal is to be in sports somewhere in a business field of my choosing. I’d love to make it as an athlete, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll branch off and run my own business where sports are somehow involved.”