NFA's Liang readies for his last stand in track before becoming a distance guy

NFA's Kyle Liang was The Day's All-Area Cross Country Runner of the Year in the fall. He will compete next season for the cross country team at Quinnipiac University. Tim Martin/The Day

One of Kyle Liang's signature moments as a high school athlete had to be winning the Eastern Connecticut Conference cross country championship last fall at Norwich Golf Course.

A senior at Norwich Free Academy, Liang will compete for the cross country team next year at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.

He's going there because he received a guaranteed spot at Quinnipiac's grad school following his four years of undergraduate studies, provided he stays solid academically. Liang, who plans to be a physician's assistant, was granted a significant academic scholarship which will be applied all six years.

"In the end, it's about academics," Liang said. "All my life I've been raised for this moment and I've always wanted to go into the medical field."

But Liang will miss his life on the track, too; Quinnipiac does not have a track program.

Liang was a member of the Wildcats' sprint medley relay team which won the State Open title in indoor track.

And in Tuesday's 87.5-62.5 loss to Fitch in an ECC Large Division outdoor track matchup, Liang won the 400 meters (51.5 seconds) and the 800 (2:07.9), as well as running a leg of the first-place 4x800 relay team. He was the anchor on NFA's 4x400 relay, as well, but got the baton far enough behind Fitch anchor Tyler Latham that the outcome wasn't much in doubt.

Liang laughed when asked if the challenge of the day, running at an all-out sprint for four races to try to lift his team to a victory in the crucial meet, was fun.

"It's fun if you consider excruciating pain fun," Liang said. "But I guess if you're a runner, you got to be a little messed up in the head.

"For the team ... if I could be in five, six, seven events, I would. I remember last year in this meet being in the triple jump because coach thought I could score a point. Whatever will give us a possible shot to win."

Liang said he would likely run the 800 at the ECC meet on May 18 at Montville.

But how does he feel about being a cross country runner only after this one, final track season is done?

"It's like, I love training, I love running, I love working hard," Liang said. "If I just get to do that, it's OK with me, but if I see the opportunity to break into their top seven, I'm definitely going to go for it.

"I'll be running five gruelling miles. I'll look back and say, 'Remember when I only had to run one lap around the track?'"

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