The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Keep Running

NASH junior Jack Bertram is a star runner for both the cross country and track teams — and Notre Dame is taking notice.
NASH junior Jack Bertram’s announcement on social media

The North Allegheny cross country team manages to exceed expectations every year. They have won six straight WPIAL championships, and in four of those years, the state championship. Though the sports is team oriented, individual times matter the most — and one runner really sticks out among the rest at NA.

NASH junior Jack Bertram has been running for as long as he can remember. He is on both the cross country and track teams and excels at both. He started playing many sports at a young age, but quickly he fell in love with running with inspiration from his father.

“I played baseball and tennis throughout my elementary school years. I was always pretty fast, so I sort of knew that I wanted to sign up for cross country and track in 7th grade. My dad also ran marathons, so I’d run with him occasionally. One time, I remember we were on vacation in Colorado, and I went on a run with my dad in the mountains and loved it. I never really ran competitively before 7th grade, though, so I’ve been doing both track and xc for 5 years now.” 

In this year’s WPIAL and state championships, Bertram placed second in the WPIAL and third in the state, an outstanding feat. He has also qualified for some unbelievable races and events, one being the national championships in San Diego.

“It’s 15:22 for 5k, and it was actually at the Foot Locker Regional Championship in Boston. Every course is different, so cross country is really about place rather than time. That probably ended up being my best race of the season, and it ended up qualifying me for the national championships in San Diego.”

Bertram continues to break records and plant himself in the history book at North Allegheny with his impressive times and race wins. He has been on varsity for both sports for all three of his high school years so far. 

As for track, he runs the 3200, 1600, and 800 meter races. Primarily, he runs the 3200 and 1600, which he will be competing in at the state championships this spring. Of course, he excels in these, too, claiming top 10 in the 3200 meter race last year at the state championship.

Recently, Bertram announced his commitment to run cross country for the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame University. 

As to why he chose Notre Dame, Bertram said, “It was really the team. They were awesome guys, and I could really see myself in that atmosphere. They almost reminded me of my team right now, and that’s sort of why I connected with them so much. Also, the tradition there is like no other. There’s so much community, and the focus on sports is really cool to see. The academics are also a major reason I chose the school.”

Bertram’s success is no surprise to his teammates and peers, but how he has progressed through the years is worth noting to a wider audience. He constantly works behind the scenes to prepare for races and meets, and it pays off. 

Even when it’s not fun, Jack is willing to do all the little things right to set himself up for success.

— John Neff, Head Coach

“[It’s] the love for the sport. There have been so many highs and lows, and races don’t go well for me sometimes,” he said. “The major thing for me is having short-term memory and not letting small failures carry too much weight. Also just having the team around makes me have a huge impact. Seeing the team’s success really motivates me. It’s also just doing the extra strength work, stretching, and rolling out when no one’s watching. It’s hard to stay disciplined outside of practice, but it’s a necessary step that’s helped me become a better runner.”

North Allegheny’s cross country and track teams are led by longtime coach John Neff, who has witnessed a career’s worth of top-flight runners. In his mind, Bertram is particularly notable. 

Jack is very naturally talented, but there’s so much more to his success than just natural talent,” Neff said. “Jack is willing to work every day. Even when it’s not fun, Jack is willing to do all the little things right to set himself up for success.”

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About the Contributor
Jacob Clarkson
Jacob Clarkson, Staff Writer
Jacob is a junior at NASH. He is part of the Lacrosse Team and enjoys golf, basketball, and hanging out with friends.

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