FORT WAYNE – Bellmonts Alexis Harvey and Homesteads Ari Nelson will be running side-by-side at the NHC track meet at some point tonight as two of the states best senior sprinters compete for conference supremacy.
Nelson, an Indiana recruit, broke her own school record in a dual meet Tuesday in winning the long jump (19 feet, 3 inches) and tied a school record in the 100 meters (12.0 seconds). Both marks put her No. 1 in the state in the events. She is also seventh in the state in the 200 (25.61).
I am the happiest girl this week, but I am always focused on going further and working harder to break the record again, Nelson said. It motivates me a lot. I know the competition is very stiff there, and it is going to be a good meet. I am looking forward to it. The motivation is to just progress as an athlete and to focus on myself.
Harvey, who is headed to Indiana Tech, is doing pretty well herself, ranking No. 1 in the state in the 200 (25.13) and No. 2 in the 100 (12.23). Harvey was the star of the NHC meet last year, setting records in the 100, 200 and 400.
I do feel some pressure since I did pretty well last year, Harvey said. Im just hoping I can do the same or just try and do as well as I can on (today). My times seem to be dropping the majority of my meets.
Both athletes are coming off close finishes at last years state finals that have added to their motivation this season. Nelson was second in the long jump at 18-9, while Harvey came in third in the 200, an event which Nelson finished eighth.
I am hoping to better my best time from last year, Harvey said of the state meet.
Getting close at the state meet has been part motivator and part confidence builder.
It shows me I am on top for the long jump and one of the top 100 and 200 runners in the state, Nelson said of the state meet as well as her success to start 2013.
It gives me confidence. Just working hard, I can get to the top and be No. 1, but I cant let it get to my head.
Last year was a redemption season for Nelson, who missed her entire sophomore outdoor season with a broken foot.
I had to work really hard to get my name out again because I was unknown my junior year because of my injury. I have been working really hard, Nelson said. I was hoping everything would work out ideally, and I was just short of being No. 1 (in the long jump). I have been really strong and healthy this season, and I am ready to win.