Heidi Nielson hasn't had the typical high school cross country career for most sophomores. Her career started off vastly different than most when a once in a life time storm like Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast last year.
Nielson had her training and season put on hold a couple of weeks due to the extreme effects. When things approached normalcy, she eventually got on a roll and enjoyed success most freshmen don't experience. Nielson finished fourth overall at the UIL 6A state meet.
From there, she qualified for Foot Locker Nationals with and a chance at a big time national meet with her 10th place performance at the South regional.
This season, things had been fairly quite throughout the year. As a lot of fast freshmen and fellow sophomores from her class were making waves and names for themselves with big time performances earlier in the year, Nielson wasn't.
However, Nielson continued to follow the path set forth by coach Dana Mathis. As the season progressed, she reeled off six straight meet wins running for a 17:58 SB and another set of District 19-6A and Region 3-6A titles. Still, not earth shattering considering her capabilities, but the plan was still being followed.
After capturing fourth place at state for the second straight year, things began to take off for Nielson. She reminded the state of Texas who she is and what she is capable of. The Katy Cinco Ranch star ran to a fifth place finish at Nike Cross Nationals South Regional (NXR South) against the top runners across multiple states.
This past weekend, she went for another national meet challenge at the Foot Locker South Regional. Nielson ran to a second place finish again competing against the best girls in the southern region of the country. "I was just like you have to get top ten, and my other goal was to try to win," Nielson said.
In successive weeks, she was able to do something that not many sophomores have the ability to do, qualify for two national championship meets.
While most of the 2018 season had been fairly quiet and controlled for Nielson, she is now breaking out at the time that matters the most!