Nathan Green nearly choked on his bowl of Cheerios when his mom told him.
The Borah High School junior was the Gatorade Idaho Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year — again. Green won his third Gatorade award overall by repeating in cross country Monday. He was the Gatorade Idaho Boys Track and Field Runner of the Year last spring.
“It means a lot to me, this year more than ever,” Green told the Idaho Press. “With all the ups and downs this season brought, to finish out the season strong and to improve on what I had before means a lot to me and my family.”
While the results won’t necessarily show it, this past season was Green’s most trying to date.
He was diagnosed with a heart murmur after the first race of the season at the Jimmy Driscoll Invitational on Aug. 31, 2019 — a race he still won by eight seconds.
After sitting out the following week at the Timberlake Farragut Invitational, Green collapsed two miles into the Bob Firman Invitational on Sept. 21. He left in the back of an ambulance and was out of action for three weeks. It was later determined that Green had an early repolarization, which impacts the valves of the heart.
But Green returned in style at the Boise City Meet on Oct. 10 at Ann Morrison Park. He nearly ran sub-15 minutes on his way to winning in 15:00.3 — the fastest time in Idaho and the 37th best in the country last season.
That was only the beginning, though.
Green won the district title by 19 seconds and state by 22 seconds. He became the first boys runner at the 5A level to repeat since Highland’s Dallin Farnsworth in 2010-11. Green was also the first Borah runner, boy or girl, in school history to go back to back and is now just the seventh 5A boy to win consecutive state championships.
He finished runner-up at the NXR Northwest Regional Championships on Nov. 16 before earning All-American honors for the second year in a row with an 11th-place finish at the NXN Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon, three weeks later.
“There were a lot of behind the scenes (stuff) that nobody really saw, the battle that was fought to keep me in this sport and to keep my career going,” Green said. “ (A) special thank you and shout out to Zach Garey yet again. He went above and beyond. He supported me through every step and kept me going throughout the entire thing. Zach was there to keep my head up, keep me smiling and he was there to pick me up when I fell. I still owe him everything I have.”