Maple, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- No one said Tess Nelson's quest for a third straight title would be easy. The Northwestern senior was disqualified in the subsections on Monday from the 300-meter hurdles after officials ruled she false started.
But Nelson appealed the decision, won, and now she'll race on Thursday in the sectional meet for the right to defend her two state championships.
For the Nelson's, running has always been a family affair.
"My Mom's a runner," Nelson said. "She does half marathons and stuff, but we usually don't run together because she goes too far for me."
Nelson stuck with the hurdles. It's something she says comes naturally for her.
"It just fits and flows. I love doing it. I like the challenge and how it's different than other running events."
Nelson is the only athlete at Northwestern High School that's won two state titles.
"The state meet itself is just an entire experience, being in the stadium, being with my team, and running the races. It's great, and I love it," Nelson said.
Hurdles coach Phillip McGrath knows how rare it is to win back-to-back titles.
"It's never happened at our school before. If she goes for a third time, I don't think anyone will ever break that record."
But this year's meet will provide Nelson with a different challenge.
"It's been a weird season for the third title," McGrath said. "I think she'll do pretty well despite being on the track only two times before."
Whether she's had just two meets outdoors or hundreds, Nelson says it's all about having the right mindset.
"I really have to have that mentality that I'm the best person out there and that I'm here to show everyone else."
While Nelson will run for the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee next year, there's another member of the family to watch out for at Northwestern.
"My sister has the ability to fill my shoes and do more great things in running sports here," Nelson said.
A Nelson that may be the second sister chasing three state titles.
Posted by Sarah Wheeler