10/31/2012 8:34:00 AM Cougars' Nez overcomes heart condition to keep running
Chino’s Channing Nez powers toward the finish line during the 7th Annual Yavapai County Cross Country Meet at Pioneer Park in Prescott earlier this month.
Geri Kinsley Special to Review
Chino Valley High senior Channing Nez has run through pain, dizziness, tightness in his throat and lightheadedness. The dedicated runner didn't have any of these symptoms his freshman and sophomore years, but during his first cross country race in Wickenburg his junior year, he was hyperventilating after the meet. This was the first time head coach Marc Metz realized something was wrong.
Nez had other little issues during the race, but Metz thought it was due to the 100-degree heat in Wickenburg. During track season, Nez had a similar episode in Glendale where the paramedics looked at him during the meet. Metz had no idea that Nez was experiencing a heart condition.
After several tests and wearing a heart monitor for a month, a cardiologist diagnosed Nez with S.V.T. (Supraventricular Tachycardia). He stopped running a week before surgery because it hurt too much. After surgery, he was back training in a week and a half.
"I was very surprised how fast Channing recovered," Metz said. "It is so hard to explain how hard it was to let him come back so soon - it was not a pulled muscle. We took it really slow. I kept asking him how he was feeling, I told him he had to be honest with me. I am responsible for him, and I had to make sure. All these emotions just went through me. He has been on my team for four years, and he is like one of my kids."
Three members of the Nez family run on the cross country team - freshman McKeisha, Channing's younger sister, and younger brother McKenzie, a sophomore. Right now McKenzie is seeded first on the Cougar team.
"I love to run, I don't know what I would do without it," said Channing. "I have been running cross country since I was in third grade. Running is my passion. In fact I don't know what I am going to do after high school. I will miss running."
Nez is planning to go into the Marine Corps after graduating. He also is applying to different colleges just in case everything does not go as planned.
"My mom doesn't like the idea of me going into the service, but she has never given up on me, she will stand behind me," said Nez. "Whatever I decide to do my mom will be right there, as she has been when I run cross country. Mom didn't think running was a good idea when I was younger. My asthma was pretty bad, but my aunt was a coach and she wanted me to run for her. At the time it was very hard to run, but as I ran I was able to breath. Running helped me get better."
Nez finished in 58th place with a time of 19:23 in the Division III, Section 1 meet at the Hidden Cove Golf Course in Holbrook on Friday afternoon.
Now that his cross country season is over, he will start to train for spring track, running the mile, 2-mile, 800 and the 4 x 800 relay for the Cougars. He expects to improve his times from the past season.