Top ISU women’s cross-country runner has season shut down after setback


Senior Crystal Nelson chases down her competition in pursuit of a seventh-place performance at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22, 2014 in Terre Haute, Ind. Iowa State placed second at the event. 

Kyle Heim

Crystal Nelson was the star of the 2014 ISU women’s cross-country team, placing first for the team and seventh overall at the NCAA Championships last November. 

She was also a big reason why Iowa State entered the 2015 season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. 

ISU women’s cross-country coach Andrea Grove-McDonough will have to move on without Nelson this year and find someone who can step in as a top-five runner for the team.

Grove-McDonough talked earlier in the season about redshirting Nelson because she was not 100 percent, and could save an extra year of eligibility. 

Nelson suffered a knee injury during last year’s track season and was also dealing with depression. She experienced another setback recently. 

“It looks right now like we’ve kind of made that decision that we will not run Crystal this fall,” Grove-McDonough said. “She had kind of a setback, unrelated to anything else that was going on. It turns out she has kind of a heart condition that we were unaware of, but we have since discovered. 

“We’ve gone ahead and decided that she’s definitely out for this season.”