Runner Profile: Walla Walla's Ella Nelson

Over the last year and a half, I have brought so much attention to the sport of running in Washington with covering meets, interviewing athletes, taking photos, and much more.

To keep adding on what I have already compiled, every week I will create a runner profile of an athlete I have chosen to interview. With no criteria really involved, this allows me to select any student-athlete each week to give them the a chance to be featured on the website.

Some of these athletes we only know them as high school kids who compete a few times a week. But for some of them, we don't know who they are outside of the sport as a normal high school student.

Our first athlete feature comes from the east side of the state in the town of Walla Walla.

With one of the best turn arounds from her freshman to sophomore year in track and cross country, Walla Walla junior Ella Nelson enters the spotlight as one of Washington's best after what she had accomplished at both state meets.

Walla Walla's Ella Nelson. Photo courtesy of Cannon Agnotti.

She was fifth at the 4A state cross meet last fall after having placed 47th her freshman season

In the spring, Nelson was the runner-up in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200 at the 4A state track meet this past spring.

Nelson's 1,600 race was by far the most outstanding performance not only at the 4A state meet, but for all the state meets at each level as she went from running 5:01.81, to a 4:52.52.

You know her stats. You know she is one of the best at the 4A level. Now let's hear from the star herself.

What was your first memory of running?

"My first memory of running was probably trying to keep up with my mom when she went on her runs when I was little."

Talk about that 1,600 state race in the spring and what that meant to you.

"Going into that race my goal was to break five and I just tried to hang with the pack for the first three laps. The last lap I just did my best. That race gave me more confidence in what I can do as a runner."

What is your go to day before race day meal?

"I usually have some rice with veggies."

What is race day like for you?

"I get really nervous and cant stop thinking about the race all day."

What is your favorite cross country course in the state, or even out of state?

"Probably Nike Hole in the Wall. It was a flat course."

Other than cross country and track, what is your favorite sport?

"I played soccer from when I was 5 years old up until high school. It has always been one of my favorite sports."

Who is your favorite professional runner, and why?

"Shalane Flanagan, because she was the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in a long time."

What has running taught you?

"Patience and how to be stronger mentally."

If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?

"Maybe when I was like 6 years old and could just hang out with my friends and not worry about anything."

What's it been like running for Head Coach Michael Locati?

"He has been helpful and supportive."

What are you most looking forward to in your junior season?

"Improving, becoming a smarter runner, and running with my team."

Any advice you would give to young runners?

"Just keep working hard and do your best."

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