After running through and then running past opposing defenses at a record-setting pace during the past three years, Triad senior Adam Nelson will be sprinting to the finish line from here on out.
Currently the top-ranked Class 2A 60 meter indoor sprinter in the state, Nelson has accepted a track and field scholarship to attend and compete for DePaul University in Chicago beginning in the 2016-17 season.
The 170-pound Nelson is a two-time IHSA State Track Meet medal winner in the 100 meters — finishing ninth and sixth — respectively during the past two years and has won four state medals in all heading into his senior season this spring.
At DePaul, an up and coming track power in the Big East Conference, Nelson has been told he will run the 100 meters and in sprint relays with the possibility of perhaps also running in the 60 and 200 meter events.
“I’m very excited. DePaul is a great school and when I made my visit, I liked everything about it. The coaches were great and one of the coaches won an NCAA championship as a sprinter when he was in college and so it’s chance for me to learn from him,’’ Nelson said. “Hopefully I will have a chance to be an NCAA champion someday as well.’’
Nelson will graduate from Triad this spring as one of its top two-sport athletes in history. The Belleville News-Democrat co-Large School Football Player of the Year last fall when he rushed for a school record 1,,630 yards, Nelson also ends his career as a running back as the all-time leader in rushing yards with 3,386.
Nelson also scored 52 touchdowns in his career, 30 of which came this season as he helped lead the Knights to the Mississippi Valley Conference title.
Still, there were only a few schools interested in him as a college running back.
“I guess it was my size. I’m only 170 pounds,’’ Nelson said. “I looked at Missouri S and T for football for a while, but I decided to compete in track and field. It’s tough to give up football. It’s always been my love. But I’m happy about having the opportunity to run at the NCAA Division I level in college.”
This spring, Nelson will continue is pursuit of the 100 meter state championship. His best time in the event is 10.82 seconds, a mark he intends to lower soon.
“Of course, the goal is to win the state title in the 100 this spring. Time wise, I’m hoping to be around 10.7 seconds, maybe 10.6 or better. We’ll just see what happens.’’
Triad coach Brian Weiss feels DePaul is a good fit for Nelson. The Blue Demons swept the 100 and 200 meter championships at the Big East Conference championships last year and they have sprint relay teams which might contend for a berth in the NCAA Championships this Spring.
“I’m very excited for Adam. He’s a super young man who I believe will continue to improve as he gets stronger and competes against top competition. He’s the type of athlete that you love to coach because he works hard and he picks up on things very quickly. You tell him something and he’ll get it the first time,” Weiss said. “I think Adam wanted two things. He wanted to compete at an NCAA Division I program and he wanted to compete at one which is competitive. He was able to achieve both.’’