Nelson takes fourth at NCAA Championships, focusing on future


Meaghan Nelson receives her award for finishing fouth in the 10,000-meter race at the NCAA Track Championships on Friday, June 9, 2012 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. 

Stephen Koenigsfeld

As Meaghan Nelson stepped off the track Thursday night, she smiled and waved to her family and friends. And as she talked about her race, she critiqued it like any other.

“I’m feeling good and I’m feeling pretty happy with it,” Nelson said. “One of my goals was to be All-American again and if I had a shot to win, to go for it. I felt like I really competed out there.”

Nelson hung with the lead pack for the entire race. With about four laps left in the 10,000-meter run, the top four set a whole new pace.

“I just had to go with them,” Nelson said. “Coach and I talked about covering moves, so I had to put up with the pain for that little bit just so I could stick with them.”

It was only clear in the last half-of-lap of the 25-lap race who the winner would be. Natosha Rogers won the event. Nelson placed fourth. 

Nelson summed up her season and said it has been good, so far. With the national outdoor meet behind her, she will continue to train for the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month. 

“Each time I race it’s a surprise and I keep learning about competing with some of the best girls in the nation,” Nelson said. “I just can’t wait for next year when I’ll have Betsy [Saina] out there with me.”

The Olympic Trials are set to begin June 22 in Eugene, Ore. The women’s 10k is scheduled for 6:20pm CT on June 22.