Before the start of her junior season, Forest City’s Lili Nelson told KIOW – while being interviewed for the season preview – that she had aspirations to break the school record. The record was held by Vicky Chen, who raced just one season for the Indians. Chen’s time of 21.05 fell this week when Nelson achieved her goal.
Nelson ran a 20:49 on Tuesday in Mason City to beat Chen’s record, and on Thursday in Manly, Nelson lowered the new record running a 20:29.
After playing volleyball, her freshman season, Chen’s only varsity cross country came her sophomore year at Forest City. Chen’s family moved to Oklahoma following her record-breaking season.
Former Forest City coach Scott Jackson says he wasn’t surprised to see Nelson’s success, “She was an amazing middle school runner when I was (the coach) in Forest City,” Jackson told KIOW. He also had this to say about Chen, “Vicky was an athlete that used every day as an opportunity to improve physically and mentally. Vicky recognized others’ accomplishments before her own and genuinely celebrated those more than her own – she would’ve been the first in line to celebrate Lili’s accomplishment.”
Nelson sets ‘meet goals’ for herself that she tries to achieve night in and night out, and she hit her goal last night in Manly to help lower her school record.
Those meet goals, and her core and strength training are helping her push towards winning the conference title and reaching the state meet. Though Nelson says she doesn’t just want to get the state meet, she wants to finish in the top-10. She’s been blazing past most runners in North Iowa this season, though Lydia Maas of Hampton-Dumont-CAL and Nelson have formed a friendly rivalry. Maas beat Nelson in both meets this week, and Nelson says she is working to chase Lydia down.
Lili’s time on Thursday was the 11th best time run in Class 2A this season. Union’s Ellie Rathe has Classes best mark of 18:35.10. Even with those high marks, Lili remains unranked by Iowarunjumpthrow.com.