GREAT FALLS — Usually when divisional track meets come around, athletes have settled into their routines and they're focused on maximizing results before state. But that's not the case for Simms senior Dallin Nelson.
Nelson is a sprinter and jumper for the Tigers, and he'll compete at the State C meet next week in the 200-meter dash and the high jump (as well as on the Tiger relay teams). Here's the wild part: This is the first year he’s ever done track, but he loves it.
"I was basically trying to focus on basketball a lot of the time and then everyone just told me to do track because you'll get a lot scouts out looking for you. So I decided to do it this year," he said. "I get to be social and talking with a lot of people, that's one of my favorite parts."
Nelson regrets not going out before, especially in high jump. He struggles with his form in that event, but he's capable of clearing 6 feet, 2 inches on pure athleticism. So as bizarre as it is, he spent the Northern C divisional meet working on proper form. He failed to clear anything higher than 5-8, but that wasn't the point.
"He's getting it slowly, and we've asked him to do a lot of things all season. So we know this close to state, the pressure isn't going to be too much for him to do it," coach Benjamin Vaughan said. "But we did ask him to essentially give up a medal (Wednesday) by working on those things. And he's been big picture this whole season, which we're really thankful for."
Nelson delights in learning new things. He's a history enthusiast in school, and he’ll go on a two-year mission for the LDS Church after graduation with dreams of eventually trying out for the BYU basketball team. So with this short-term goal of taking a top spot at state in the high jump, he’s got all the tools to do it.
"Knowing that I can try to be somebody in something that they know how to do and been doing in years, and I haven't been doing it all, it's all learning experience," he said.
The State C meet is in Missoula starting on May 27.