Nipomo High cross country and track and field standout Devin Diaz enjoys the laid-back pace of life in Nipomo just fine.
After signing to run for West Texas A&M on Wednesday, Diaz said that should make his transition to Canyon, Texas, a town about the same size (13,000 pop.) as Nipomo, fairly easy.
Diaz, a multiple time league champion at Nipomo, runs at a fast pace, but prefers to take life slowly. Diaz has worked on a ranch. He hopes to study Agriculture Business at West Texas A&M, a school about 15 miles south of much larger Amarillo, Texas, in the state's panhandle.
"It's literally like if Nipomo was in Texas," Diaz said of his future college town. "If Nipomo were to have a college, it would be just like Canyon. I can not do fast-paced living, it just stresses me out too much. The Ag facility is phenomenal over there and I haven't heard a single bad thing about the campus."
Diaz signed at a ceremony inside Nipomo's gymnasium during the school's lunch period Wednesday, joined by a large contingent of friends, family members, current and former coaches and teachers.
Diaz will compete in both sports for the Buffaloes, likely running the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters in track, but hopes to pick his speed up enough to run the 800.
Texas A&M's cross country team won its sixth straight Lone Star Conference title earlier this month and is ranked nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.
Diaz said a number of people were influential in helping him get to this point, including his parents Steve and Melissa.
"Growing up I always looked up to my parents," Diaz said. "They always told me, 'You're going to do something for a reason or not at all.' When I found running as a freshman, I truly did love it and I love it to this day. It's so therapeutic. Working your butt off every single day, working toward a goal, it's something you feel good doing. The inspirations in my life have always been there.
"I've been working on a ranch and showing cattle for Christy Wineman and she's been a big help, as well as my dad, my mom. Anyone in my immediate family has been right behind me supporting me during this entire journey and I just cannot thank them enough."
Devin's father, Steve, played minor league baseball in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization. He says sports has been a big part of Devin's upbringing. Steve says Devin's never been difficult to motivate.
"He's been a committed kid from day one," Steve Diaz said. "He's a very loyal, committed kid. He's the guy who gets up at 5:30 in the morning during winter when they're out of season and goes for a run; a four- our five-mile run when it's 30 degrees outside.
"It's just something we instilled in our kids, both my wife and I. If you want something, you have to go out and get it."
Diaz and Nipomo's cross country team were scheduled to run in the CIF Central Section Finals Thursday in Fresno.