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Former SHS runner returns as a girls track coach

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Lance Nelson keeps time for the girls distance runners during a practice on March 13.

Lance Nelson keeps time for the girls distance runners during a practice on March 13.

Noah Thomas

Noah Thomas

Lance Nelson keeps time for the girls distance runners during a practice on March 13.

Logan Zrebiec, Reporter

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Walk into the Southport Middle School (SMS) gymnasium and take a quick glance at the record board. A certain name is up there. Nelson. Four times.

SHS graduate Lance Nelson is a decorated track and field runner throughout the Southport community. Nelson came back from college and, after a few years assisting for the SHS track team, he has became the new girls long distance coach.

“I went to college in Michigan and after I graduated, my wife and I moved back (to Southport),” Nelson said. “I like the community. It feels like family.”

While being the girls distance coach, Nelson is also an instructional aide. An instructional aide works with teachers to work with special-education students. He works with the students one-on-one or in smaller group settings.

Nelson holds the SMS records for the Cross-Country course record, the Southport Invitational record, the 1600-meter dash and the 2400-meter dash. In 2007, his freshman year, Nelson was the only 1600-meter runner for SHS  and ended up placing 25th out of 27.

According to long-time head boys and girls track and field coach, Nathan Fishel, it helps benefit the team that he works in the building because the runners are able to get more one-on-one attention from Nelson right after school.

“The kids get more attention, they get more development, they get more improvement, our team gets better,” Fishel said.

Agreeing with Fishel, sophomore Nicole Manning believes that the distance runners are able to have a coach that is able to devote himself to just distance.

“Last year, we didn’t really have a main coach to give us direction,” Manning said. “Now that we have Lance, we have a coach that is able to put all (of) his time into us.”

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Former SHS runner returns as a girls track coach