Fairfield Warde High School distance runner Harry Warnick is going to run, run, run in college.

Warnick signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to run cross country and indoor and outdoor track at Villanova University.

Warnick chose Villanova over American University, Boston College and Wake Forest, citing Villanova's proximity to home, its sterling business school and the track program's prestigious history.

"I'm really excited," he said. "It's the best running program I had the chance to go to."

Warde's cross country and boys indoor track coach Tim Foster -- who coached current Villanova distance runner Matt Kane as well -- believes Warnick is built to succeed in the Big East.

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"He's going to get bigger and stronger as a runner," Foster said. "I don't think we've seen anything close to his potential yet."

After playing two years of soccer, Warnick ran cross country his last two seasons at Warde. He still finished second at State Open in 2011, qualifying for New Englands.

Warnick followed that with a win in the mile at the New England Interscholastic Indoor Track & Field meet in February in Boston. Warnick believes his quick improvement stemmed from his own willingness to train.

"I've been working a lot by myself," Warnick said. "I've matured and been self-motivated to succeed."

His father, Ed, shared that sentiment recalling Harry's training when the family was on vacation in Florida.

"I had to find a high school for him to run at," Ed said. "So I dropped him off and came back an hour later and he'd done his six miles."

But Warnick has not always felt such affinity for running. He initially started as a soccer player after realizing his disdain for running in the middle school track program.

"I didn't enjoy running," Warnick said. "I never thought of it as a sport I could compete in."

Warnick changed his mind, however, after a sterling outdoor season his sophomore year, where he lowered his mile time by more than 20 seconds.

Because Warnick will be close to home, his parents will go out of their way to see him compete when they can.

"We get to go see his meets," Harry's mom Meredith said. "We're so excited for him."

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