Wilvers puts difficulties behind him to excel in track | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wilvers puts difficulties behind him to excel in track

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

Tribune fileHudson Wilvers, front, will compete in the 800 and 1,600 meters at zone Saturday

Being an outdoor athlete with severe allergies can be called frustrating at the very least and at worst, it can spell the end of a person’s love for outdoor sports.

But for South Tahoe High distance track runner Hudson Wilvers, giving up on the sport he excels in wasn’t an option.

Wilvers has overcome bad allergies to springtime pollen to have his best season and the senior has received a scholarship to attend Long Beach State University, where he will run track and cross country. The scholarship with the 49ers covers his books and tuition.

“I had been talking to their coach a lot and he was telling me about their program,” Wilvers said. “They have a kid from Tahoe who is already down there (Cory Martin, a junior) and I really like the location.”

Wilvers has made the most of his senior year as a Vikings’ runner and will compete in the Northern Nevada 4A regional meet Saturday at Reno High. He qualified in both the 800 and 1,600.

“I’m feeling good. I’ve been running all week in practice,” he said. “I still have allergies, but I’m dealing with them a lot better this year. At the end of this season I’ve been running better than I was previously.”

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He credits his recovery to avoiding putting his body through late-season outdoor workouts, where pollen and other airborne irritants tend to be at their strongest.

“At the end of the season I was running outdoors and putting my body through those allergies, but now I’m training indoors with treadmills,” he said.

Hudson’s father, Dan Wilvers, who co-coaches the high school track team, also credits his son’s recovery to a higher power.

“I do think he had some supernatural assistance,” Dan said. “This is something he and I had prayed about and asked God to help him get through this season. He has been very diligent about doing what he needs to do and the doctors have played a big part in helping him. I really feel like he has improved and is not as susceptible. The weather may also have played into it since the moisture kept the pollen down.”

As for regionals, Hudson is making his third appearance of his high school career. He missed regionals over his sophomore year due to allergy problems. Last year, he finished second at the state meet in the 1,600.

“That was a gift last year. He barely even qualified because he was so weak from the allergies, but he always lays it out in every race when it means something,” Dan said. “He’s got to go in the top 5 and he should be able to do that. He’s going after it in the 1,600 and then going to come back and attempt to qualify in the 800 (just 1 hour, 25 minutes later).”

Hudson will compete for a spot in the state meet, which begins May 15.

Dan noted that his son’s scholarship offer came after he hit a “magic number” at Stanford earlier in the season, where he ran the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 17.9 seconds, less than a second off the school record of 4:17.2 held by Greg Hitchcock, who went on to star at the University of Oregon. Hitchcock took the school record when South Tahoe still competed in the Golden Empire League and most of the meets were run off the hill at sea level, a real advantage in track.

“The beauty of track for any kid is that you can be a virtual unknown, but all you have to do is hit a time,” Dan said. “You hit a time and the phone starts ringing. Hudson came out of Stanford and they were interested in him.”

Dan said he plans to return as track coach next year.

“I’m going to stick around and keep coaching and my goal is to help kids who really want to run in college get there,” he said. “Hudson is evidence that if you work hard, you can get there.”