OAKLEAF – Oakleaf High junior track and cross country runner Dylan Nelson completed his summer gauntlet of championships with a third national steeplechase title at the AAU Junior Olympic National …
OAKLEAF – Oakleaf High junior track and cross country runner Dylan Nelson completed his summer gauntlet of championships with a third national steeplechase title at the AAU Junior Olympic National Championships held August 1 at Drake University in Iowa.
Nelson, who won the USATF title and the AAU National Club title in recent weeks, finished with a personal best time of six minutes, 28.72 seconds and defeated a strong field of 39 runners; 12 in the 15-16 year old 2K national championship race.
“I knew the race was going to be fast as there were more runners in the field,” said Nelson, in a post race interview on MileSplit.com. “It’s amazing. I was third last year and I saw my seed time was more than ready to do this.”
Nelson sat in the middle of the opening two laps assessing his competition; mainly front runner Jibril Syed of Michigan, before unleashing a backstretch surge and a strong leap over the water jump that separated him to the win. Nelson’s first lap was at 72 seconds with Syed opening with a 66 second lap.
After the 800, Nelson sat on Syed’s shoulder with Shey Green of New York in the trio. At the water jump in the third lap, Nelson blasted from the field to build a 10 yard gap with Maynard attempting to keep Nelson within a shot to outkick him.
With a 10 yard lead after four laps, Nelson, who passed the mile mark in 5:11.29, stretched out the lead on the fourth lap with just one athlete; eventual runnerup Ryan Maynard of Kentucky, in chase as he extended his lead even more as the race progressed. As Nelson approached the final hurdle of the fourth lap of five, he stutter stepped, but regained his stride to pull away from runnerup Brian Maynard.
On the final backstretch, Nelson blasted the first 200 before pulling away from Maynard to finish in 6:28.71.
Nelson, coached by former Keystone Heights High School running star Enoch Nadler, now readies for the upcoming cross country season.