Focused Leman is Prepared for Final Race at National Championships
LONGVIEW - American Southwest Champion Nicole Leman will be back on the trails on Saturday afternoon as she will compete at the National Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. She is the first runner in cross country history to compete for a national title.
"It's really an honor, it was always a big goal and a big dream of mine, " said Leman on competing on the national stage. "It was something Coach (Brown) and I talked about at the beginning of the season and I can hardly believe it's actually happening."
Last week, Leman competed at a tough course at the South/Southeast Regionals in Atlanta, Ga. and earned her spot into nationals by finishing 10th overall.
"It was a tough, hilly course, so I don't think everyone had their best time," said Leman. "The last mile was a push, I was really thankful at the end because I did not know that I had qualified right away."
For Leman, she has already accomplished many goals this season by winning the ASC championship three weekends ago in Clinton, Miss. and now qualifying for nationals after another great race in Atlanta. She is only the second YellowJacket in school history to ever go to nationals, following Leslie Lee of women's golf in 2010.
"She has grown tremendously since the first day she started here," said Brown. "We built a trust together and her hard work has taken her so far."
Leman was named the ASC Cross Country Runner of the Year as well as the Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year for her great performances. She has the top time in the conference for the 3K, 4K, 5K, and 6K as well as six top five finished while placing first four times.
With a National Championship on the line, Leman will take to the course for the final time in her collegiate career at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday.
"Ultimately, I want to be able to represent this school in the best way," adds Leman. "It would be incredible to qualify as an All-American and set a personal best."
Brown goes on to add, "I want her to run her best and want her to go out and show the nation how much she wants it."