Former Blue Devil Nelson 20th at NCAA cross country championship

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Ending a drought of 15 years, Washington junior Aaron Nelson completed one of the best seasons ever by a Husky men’s distance runner Saturday, powering over the sloppy, muddy 10,000-meters of muck at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course for a 20th-place finish in the NCAA Division I cross country championships.

Nelson, who graduated from Walla Walla High School in 2011, was running as an individual after finishing eighth at the West Region meet last week. He outdid that effort Saturday, clocking 30:27 to grab the 20th spot.

“What he did today was what we believed he was capable of doing,” coach Greg Metcalf said.

“He felt great and was purposeful in his run. He went out with the single-minded goal to be an All-American today. You talk to kids about what you hope they’re going to do, and how to go do it, and he followed the plan to a tee. For him to finish 20th-place, it’s outstanding, and for a guy who’s never been in the meet before. He had a great day and it was fun.”

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