Prep Signing: West Rowan's Freeze to Pfeiffer for cross country

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 4, 2012

By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — Alex Freeze is going to run cross country in college because of a wrestling coach.
The story goes something like this. The West Rowan wrestling team was working out one day, three years ago. Coach Durwood Bynum noticed a shy freshman who was outpacing everyone else.
“Bynum told me I should be running cross country,” Freeze said.
Freeze took the advice to heart and now he’s running to Pfeiffer University coach Scott Nolt on a cross country scholarship.
“It’s a real success story,” West cross country coach Scott Foster smiled.
Freeze didn’t come out as a sophomore until mid-September and on his first day, the team ran what Foster calls, “800 repeats.” Freeze was told to run the distance four of five times in a row while trying to be consistent with the times.
“It was pretty tough,” the 6-foot Freeze said. “But I was a natural runner.”
Foster sure was impressed.
“I saw right there he was one of the most determined kids I’d ever seen,” Foster said. “We knew we had something special by how hard he worked.”
His junior year, Freeze was an all-North Piedmont Conference performer. But as a senior, his time of 17:23 in the NPC meet left him one spot off the elite team.
“That tells you how tough our conference is,” Foster said. “The time was faster than when he made all-conference as a junior.”
Soon after the 3A regionals back in the spring, West’s Elizabeth Clarke gave him a letter from Pfeiffer coach Nolt.
The Falcons wanted Freeze.
“I was actually kinda surprised,” Freeze said. “I took a visit and it seemed like a pretty nice school. I think I’m going to enjoy it.”
Foster said Freeze could jump right in as Pfeiffer’s No. 2 or 3 runner. He reports Aug. 12.
Freeze seems to be a friendly guy and he and his coaches credit cross country success. He’s a different Alex Freeze than the one who showed up that first day as a sophomore.
“I was real shy,” Freeze admitted. “Running got me more open because of being able to actually do well in something other people can’t. Having people push you and you pushing them — it’s a great experience.”
Freeze has no bigger fan that Foster.
“Running really changed Alex socially,” he said. “It gave him an identity. Everybody knows Alex now.”
It’s a good thing the wrestling coach at West saw the potential way back when.