Wolfgang Cotra-Nemesi, the coolest name in running and one of Australia’s best young talents. 

A year 11 student at Wesley College, Wolf loves his music, beach time and solitude. At 17 years of age, he's had a breakthrough track season, dominating junior races and mixing it with the seniors. His summer consisted of race after race, multiple PB’s, a Zatopek debut, and unfortunately ended with the spicy cough. A class athlete with race smarts, Wolf finished his season with bests of 1:52 in the 800m, and 3:48 in the 1500m. All you nerds out there, go do your research and see how many 17 year olds have ran close to those times. 

Wolf was kind enough to take a break from his studies to chat with us. 

You’ve been running most of your life?
My first race was year 4, I made it to regionals and fell just short of making the state cross country championships. From there I signed up to little athletics and started training once a week. From year 5, I have then made it to nationals every year for both cross country and athletics. Slightly increasing my training every year so I can improve linearly. I have been running for 6 years now.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
The people around me, coaches, parents and most importantly - the people I train with, they motivate me to do running. When I drive out somewhere to do a session, it isn’t for the sole purpose of just doing a session, I get to talk to all my mates as well. Through the years of training with the same people, multiple times a week, I have grown close relationships that motivate me to train. I draw inspiration from anyone that has been through tough times and has come out strong and of course from running greats, both past and present. 

Tell us about your training group?
My coach is Tim O’Shaughnessy. Sometimes during the holidays when I can make it to the morning sessions, Caulfield park Thursday’s and Central Reserve track, I get to train with some of the greatest runners in Australia; Stewy McSweyn, Brett Robinson, Jack Rayner, Dave McNeil, the list goes on. It is inspiring training with these guys, sometimes even running repetitions with them. I train with various groups that are all coached by Tim, but we are all spread over different locations and during the holidays is the only time where the Juniors come together to run with the Melbourne Track Club. It’s really motivating, it shows everyone what it is like to train at the highest level and the discipline they have.

Is this the first year you’ve been competing in elite senior races?  
Last season I got one or two A races, Mile champs and one of the 800’s. That was it for that season though, I got a little feel of high-level racing. This season has been my first full year where so far, I have been almost exclusively running A races (other than a 3000m). 

And how was your first Zatopek experience?
My first Zatopek experience was mediocre, it was meant to be a 9-person race, 5 people ended up pulling out so it became a race of 4. On a humid rainy day, it didn’t turn out to be the best race, the time and race tactics weren’t spectacular. I got sat and kicked on.

You’ve ran a qualifier for the U20 World Champs this year in Colombia, are you able to go? 
I have the qualifying time, but sadly don’t think I will be going. It is one thing to get the qualification time, then the second qualification is to finish top 2 at the under 20 nationals in any of the respective events (as well as doing the qualifier). I am going to stick to competing in my age (U18) for this year, so I won’t be going to Colombia sadly. I have another chance in two years’ time when I will be top age U20, hopefully in good form. So, it’s a good sign to get the qualifier at this age,  because if I can even improve a little each season, I will be a lot faster in two years and hopefully be on my way to the world junior championships in 2024.

Plans and goals for post school running?
Post school I plan to stay in Melbourne with my training group and study a course I am interested in hopefully at Melbourne University. I don’t have that much interest in going to college or any of that. I would like to take a gap year, travel the country and the world a little. I really want to go back to the Kimberly.

Long term goals would be to stay in the sport for as long as I can and improve my load a little each season so hopefully, I can make a senior Australian team one day. Whether it be commonwealth, Olympics, or world championships a long-term goal would be to make an Australian Senior team.

Photos courtesy of @quads.of.fury and @benclement_