Nelson finishes 16th in state

TRACK AND FIELD: Burroughs senior caps fine high school running career in elite 3,200 race.

June 10, 2009|By Grant Gordon

CLOVIS — If nothing more and nothing less, Western Nelson proved he could run among the best of the best — both on Saturday and throughout an ultra-successful senior campaign.

Running for the first time in the CIF-State Track and Field Championships, the Indians standout flirted with the frontrunners in Saturday night’s 3,200-meters race, but inevitably finished 16th in 9 minutes 6.68 seconds.

“I put myself in a position to do good, but I didn’t really do that good,” Nelson said.

Nelson worked his way up to as high as third place in the race, but eventually dropped way back.

The race, which featured eight runners finishing in under nine minutes, was won by Foothill’s Chris Schwartz in 8:51.60.

“I ran fast,” Nelson said, “they just ran faster.”

Nelson began the eight-lap race running stride for stride with Pacific League rival Zack Torres through the first two laps.


Between the fourth and fifth laps, Nelson made his move up, going from eighth to fourth, a position he held for much of the fifth and sixth laps, the latter seeing him battle for third. But over the final two laps, Nelson began to fall behind until the finish.

“I did my best, I showed up,” Nelson said. “It’s just what happens sometimes.”

His time was roughly two seconds slower than his showing in last week’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet, in which he took fourth in 9:04.19, which was his personal record and a Burroughs school record.

In terms of the Pacific League’s state trio, Arcadia’s Ammar Mousssa finished 12th in 9:03.26, with Nelson finishing four spots behind and five spots in front of league champion Torres (21st; 9:15.18) of Crescenta Valley.

For Nelson, Saturday concluded a stellar career at Burroughs and, in particular, a phenomenal senior year that saw him become the first Indians boys’ runner to advance to the CIF-State Cross-Country meet before once again making school history by becoming the first Indians boys’ athlete to make it to state in track and field during the same school year.

“When I look back at state, I don’t think it’s just this race, it’s the whole season,” he said, “and the rest of the season, I was frickin’ amazing.”

In the cross-country state meet in November, Nelson placed 15th among the 194 runners in 15:32 at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Nelson will now concentrate his efforts on his collegiate career, as he is headed to Cal State San Marcos to run for former Olympian and world record holder Steve Scott.

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