Nelson to compete at U.S. Olympic Trials

Iowa State’s Meaghan Nelson participates in the women’s 10,000-meter race. Nelson placed fourth in the event Thursday, June 7, at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Stephen Koenigsfeld

The track and field season has almost come to a close. For ISU distance runner Meaghan Nelson, the season will continue as she heads to Eugene, Ore., to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Nelson will be trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in the 10,000-meter run on Friday evening, a race she has dominated all season long.

Nelson described her emotions a week out before the trials. They aren’t the stereotypical, nervous emotions one might expect before racing in a national spotlight.

“I’m pretty relaxed,” Nelson said. “Going into the trials, there isn’t a lot of pressure on me. It’s more of a learning experience and going out there and seeing what I can do.”

Nelson said she is feeling comfortable heading into the trials. And as far as training goes, she said she has cut down the mileage as the season has come to an end.

Assistant ISU track and field coach Travis Hartke said they planned on cutting the volume of workouts down before heading to Oregon.

“She was running a lot — volume-wise — there for a while,” Hartke said. “The workout we [will] do the week of the trials won’t differ much from the workout we did the week before nationals.”

Nelson said her June 7 national race at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines was a learning experience. Since then, Nelson said she has been preparing to run what will be a much faster race in Oregon.

“I’ll probably take more of a chance out in Oregon,” Nelson said. “Because there’s nothing to lose.”

Nelson said she plans to take on the race if it goes at its expected quick start. But if the race starts off slow, Nelson said it will just come down to a regular, 10K race.

On Friday, Nelson said when it comes down to it, she’s just looking forward to the experience of the Olympic Trials.

“Racing against the really top athletes — and it’s going to be a neat experience the Olympic Trials,” Nelson said. “It’s a great track to be on and a great area for running in general.”

Eugene, Ore., has a highly regarded reputation when it comes to track and field. Hosting the Olympic Trials will only add to that repuation in the eyes of athletes such as Nelson.

Nelson’s race will begin at 9:20 p.m. CST Friday, June 22.