OAKLEAF - Oakleaf High senior cross country and track star Dylan Nelson signed a national letter of intent on Fri., Jan. 31 to continue his running at Troy University in Alabama.
"The people at Troy were impressive," said Nelson, who had five schools on his signing table including Florida Southern, Mississippi State, University of South Florida and University of North Carolina-Greensboro. "The team was fairly new last year and they sent a couple of guys to the NCAAs. They are definitely looking to build."
Nelson, a four-time AAU national champion in the 3K steeplechase as well as a state cross country finisher and track state meet athlete, will be able to compete in both cross country and track, according to his scholarship.
"Dylan is the first cross country and track runner for us to be able to compete at the college level," said Oakleaf coach James Henderson. "His legacy will be being that first guy and hopefully that will inspire others to follow his footsteps."
Troy is an NCAA Division I university that competes in the Sun Belt Conference that includes the likes of Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern and University of South Alabama.
Nelson finished 18th in the region 1-4A cross country race with a time of 16 minutes, 29 seconds leading the Knights cross country team to a 12th place team finish. Nelson ran in the 2018 Class 4A championship race with a 16:33.64 split for 20th place.
"I'd like to run a 9:20 for the 3200 and under 4:20 for the mile this spring," said Nelson, who will compete in a steeplechase race in Winter Park in a week to try and qualify for the Under 20 national qualifier (June 12-14 in Miramar) to possibly make the Under 20 World team.