Athlete Spotlight: Samantha Nelson (Desert Hills)

Samantha Nelson made her XC career debut at the SUU Invitational where she won in a time of 18:31 for 3 miles.  She then placed 6th in a loaded field at Utah County a week later.  These are the only two cross country races of her life and she is already showing she is one of the best in the class of 2019.  She has run track before clocking times of 5:11.05 for 1600m and 10:57.56 for 3200m.  So this high level of performance shouldn't come as a surprise.

Samantha Nelson's Personal Bests

1600m5:11.05Herriman Twilight Invitational (2018)
3200m10:57.56Arcadia Invitational (2018)
3 Mile16:58.80Woodbridge Cross Country Classic (2018)
5k18:14.00Nike Cross Regionals - Southwest (2017)

How did you first get started running?

I've always loved to run, but I actually played soccer growing up.  To say conditioned I would run in the early mornings with my mom or dad.  It wasn't until my sophomore year of high school when I realized that I wasn't enjoying soccer as much as running so I decided to join track.  Since then I've been hooked!

Favorite Workout?

Anything that has to do with running is my favorite, but my favorite workout would definitely be tempo runs.  I get a thrill being able to work my way up to a pace and then finishing off strong.

Least Favorite Workout?

I don't have a workout that's my least favorite, but I would say my most challenging are the short sprint repeats.  Anything under 800m is rough for me, and I definitely like to work into a pace.  Maybe that's why I'm a distance runner :)

How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically for a race?

I would say my mental game is the key when it comes to races because I know that I've put in the work and done what I've needed to prepare.  It's something I'm still learning and working on but I have to go into a race calm and relaxed.  The night and morning before I try to do some visualization and meditation just to calm my mind.  Going into a race I always have to tell myself that it's 100% mental because I'm confident that my body can do what I need it to do as long as my mental game is strong.  Lastly, bust most important to me is my faith.  I believe that I am nothing without the strength I receive from a higher power.  Going into a race having spiritually enlightened myself is a game changer.

Pre Race superstition

For real, I'm still learning what my "pre-race rituals" are and they change from race to race haha!  I don't really have a set schedule because every race is different!  I always wear the same socks, eat a banana and nature valley granola bar an hour before,  and say lots of prayers.  I'm a habit type of person, but I cannot be too rigid when it comes races or it messes with my mental game.

Most memorable race?
The BYU Track Invitational my sophomore year.  I had taken 5th overall against some big time competition!  It was one of the first big track meets I had ever competed in and I loved it. It didn't really hit me until a few days later how awesome that race was.

Where are you at on college decisions?
Ah!  This is the question I fear when people ask because I don't know yet and I'm still trying to make the most out of high school.  I'm definitely looking at all my options and waiting to make a decision I feel solid about.

What are your top 3 goals you wish to accomplish this season?
1.  Win state as a girls team
2.  Qualify for NXN
3.  Be a top qualifier at NXR and State