Sailing over hurdles, Nims leads Spartans.
ASHBURNHAM - "Timing is everything," says Oakmont Regional High School senior Tyler Nims, when beginning to explain his technique on the track, especially in the difficult high hurdle races.
And Nims' finishing times have helped lead the Spartans to a strong and successful start this spring.
In a recent track meet against Gardner High, Nims vaulted the Spartans into a comfortable lead, winning gold in the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles plus the long jump.
Now in his final sports season at Oakmont, the speedy and talented Nims has penned an impressive athletic resume over the years. And on the academic side, his last report card glittered with all A's.
Nims is a three-sport captain (varsity golf, indoor and outdoor track) at Oakmont.
This year he was selected as a Wachusett League All-Star and team most valuable player for indoor track, compiling 101 points in winter events, the most for an Oakmont athlete since 2006.
"Tyler has been outstanding in both the 400 and 110 high hurdles. He has earned some nice honors here and is only a second away from the school record in the 400 set by Mike Lashua in 2006," Oakmont coach Dave LaRoche said. "Tyler has also been a great leader, and he's very good with our younger athletes."
In the Gardner meet, Nims zipped around the track in the 400 hurdle race, finishing in 59.5.
Speaking more about his technique in clearing the 10 hurdles over the course of the 400 meter race, the 5-foot-8, 140-pound Nims said, "You want about nine or 10 steps between each hurdle, so you don't shuffle as you come to the hurdle. You want to stay in the right form, stay tight. It's not easy. I've never had a flawless race."
He's getting closer, though. Nims maximizes his practice time and keeps improving with each meet. Between his sophomore and junior outdoor seasons, he chopped nine seconds off his 400 high hurdles time.
"I worked really hard during the summer between my sophomore and junior years," Nims said. "A lot of weight lifting, but more for stability and core training rather than building muscle."
Last year at the Central Mass. championships, Nims placed second in the 400 hurdles and was a key part of the Spartans' champion 400 relay team.
Nims got serious about track in the eighth grade.
"I was quick in other sports, and had played different ones, but it wasn't like I was excelling, so I decided to focus on track," he said, adding, "This is my sport."
In the off-season, Nims, coached by Jim Herrick, trained at Power Source Training in Leominster.
Nims captains the spring track team along with Jon Streeks, Pat O'Connell and Chris Cefole. The Spartans next meet is at home against Bromfield on April 22. Cefole and Streeks join Nims on the 400 relay team.
About the current season, Nims said, "I think we can qualify for the states with our 400 relay team. We're hoping to get into the 3 minutes 20-something seconds range."
Nims is the son of Vickie and Steve Nims of Ashburnham and Paula Nims of Ashburnham. He is hoping to continue his track career in college at either Fitchburg State University or Worcester State University.
While still undecided about his major, Nims said he was leaning toward sports medicine.
PHOTOG: JAY GEARAN
CUTLINE: Oakmont Regional High School track star Tyler Nims of Ashburnham