SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Most people are familiar with the saying, “it’s not about how you start. Instead, it’s about how you finish.” Nicholas Aldrich, a sophomore cross country runner for Habersham, is a prime example of that quote.

Often in sports, running is a punishment.

“When you get in trouble in sports, what do they tell you to do,” Griff Hogan, the head cross country coach for Habersham, said. “That’s not the perception we want. We want the perception of I love running. I want to go out and accomplish this feint.”

Not too many people are more willing to accept that challenge than Aldrich. He finished 4th place at his last cross country meet, finishing a 5K in 17 minutes and 32 seconds, a personal best.

“It felt like a pretty fast course,” Aldrich said. “It was pretty flat.”

Aldrich might be in the front now during his meets, but it was not always that way.

“I started [running] in middle school,” Aldrich explained. “I wasn’t really the fastest. I ran maybe the first two-mile in 17 minutes.”

By the end of the season, Aldrich shaved five minutes off his time.

“But it took a lot of coaching,” Hogan explained. “So, Nick has taught me a lot. He has taught me how to come out and enjoy running and go after passion.”

“Whenever I’m out here, I feel at home,” Aldrich said.

Aldrich and his team will be in action again on Sept. 24 as they travel to Macon with hopes of bringing home the gold.