LUVERNE - Tenley Nelson may be young, but she’s already a veteran when it comes to competing at Minnesota’s state high school cross country meet.


Nelson, a freshman at Luverne High School, hopes to cap an excellent fall season with a solid showing at the state meet, which will take place Saturday in Northfield. She’ll be looking to improve on what was a strong performance at the 2017 state meet.


“Last year at state cross country, I knew I had a pretty good time going in,” Nelson said. “In the mile I was about 5:45, and that was a little faster than I was expecting, so I think I kind of made myself a little bit more nervous and I ended up placing fifth.”


This year, Nelson hopes that being one year older means being one year wiser. In this week’s regular installment of The Drill (you can check out the video online at, Nelson  - who also competes in girls basketball and track and field  - talked about her goals for the year and who inspires her to excel.


QUESTION: Do you feel a lot of pressure to succeed based on your past success?


ANSWER: Being the highest-ranked ninth grader in the state of Minnesota in Class A definitely seems like a lot to live up to. I think the thing I get most nervous about is … living up to my own expectations rather than other peoples,’ ’cause I have big goals for myself.


QUESTION: What are your goals for Saturday’s state meet?


ANSWER: This season in cross country I’d like to break 18 minutes and close the gap between myself and (others) at state. In races I definitely like to get out in the lead, try to be up in front - especially normal races, not necessarily at big races. … At the third quarter I always try and push myself a little more because you naturally just want to save up for the end, but if you want to run your fastest time you can’t really do that.

QUESTION: Who inspires you the most in sports?


ANSWER: The person who most inspires me in sports is Jessie Graff. She’s a professional stuntwoman and she competes on “American Ninja Warriors,” and she really inspires me because she just proves that women can do anything the guys can do just as well if not better.”