A Quick Chat With Isaiah Nelson

First of all, how did you first get involved with track & field?

I got involved because my birth dad ran track when he was in high school and in college. He was a triple jumper, so naturally I also wanted to be a triple jumper.

What are all your personal records?

My best Triple jump is 46' 5". My best Long jump is 20' 8.5". My best 100m is 12.34.

Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?

I play football, and manage the girls basketball team. I also used to wrestle, play soccer, and baseball.

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

My most memorable moment in track was my sophomore year, in our section meet. I was in third place and needed to move into second to go to State. On my very last jump, I jumped my personal best, went into first, and broke the school record.

Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

My favorite athlete to compete against is Christopher Udalla.

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?

People that have been most helpful are my teammates and my jumping coach Gina Plotz. She has helped me  become the jumper I am today. Also, my teammates push me to become better.

Was there ever a moment that you experienced a breakthrough and you realized how good you could be, or have you always had an idea of your potential?

I have had two moments like that. One was in 7th grade. I was in my first meet, and doing my first triple jump ever. I jumped off the wrong foot, and got into first while breaking the 7th grade Triple jump record. Then I jumped again off the correct foot and beat the previous jump I had. My coach didn't believe me so he sent me back to ask the person to ask what my jump was a second time. The second time was in 8th grade when I got pulled up to varsity track to jump in the True Team State meet. That was when I knew I could do something special.

What is a challenge you have had to face in your athletics career?

In my junior year of football, I got a concussion and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was okay, but I couldn't play in the rest of our season, which was the playoffs. It was really hard to sit and watch my friends go out there and play while I had to sit on the sidelines.

What are your main goals for this upcoming track season?

My main goal for this year is to make it to State for both the long jump and triple jump. I want to jump 22ft for long jump and 48ft for triple jump.

As a senior, what is one piece of advice you would like to offer younger athletes?

One piece of advice would be to never give up on your dreams and to push yourself as hard as you can. A moment of pain can be worth a lifetime of glory.


Do you have any college plans?

I am going to SMSU and will play football and run track and field. I plan to major in exercise science as well. 

What are some of the things that attracted you to Southwest Minnesota State?

Well, it's close to home. I know some friends that go there, so that made it feel more like home seeing people I knew. And also, their head football coach Cory Sauter graduated from Hutchinson, so I kinda have a personal connection there.

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

My superstition is that I have to double knot my shoes before I jump.

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?

When not doing track, I am usually hanging out with friends and playing piano.

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

One bizarre fact is that when I was adopted, both my birth parents and parents that were adopting me came up with the exact first and middle name (Isaiah James) for me without talking to each other about it.