After being ranked the top pole vaulter in the country, it’s hard to believe that Chris Nilsen still has one more lap in his college career.
“I think there’s still so many things that I can do in college that I’m so far away from," said Nilsen.
The USD senior is coming off his third collegiate national championship, and now is working to earn a top finish at the U.S. National Track and Field meet this coming weekend.
“It’s just something that I really look forward to pretty much all year. This is kind of like my goal meet to get to healthy and feeling good. I am still a college athlete, but this is kind of the meet I most look forward to," said Nilsen.
Chris is hoping third times a charm this weekend, finishing second and third overall at this event the last two years.
“So I think the stakes are high and people have expectations that I would like to meet. But I think I put a lot of pressure on myself as well, so those expectations are kind of on myself as well," said Nilsen.
But if Nilsen is soaring to new heights in Des Moines, it means taking down Olympic medalist Sam Kendricks.
“I think we have competed against each other six or seven times, and I have beaten him one time. There's just so many steps and mistakes are so high and if you miss out, especially in the position that I’m currently sitting in, I’m tied for first with Sam Kendicks. If I go and don’t do so hot, I’m going to be a little upset about it." said Nilsen.
No matter Nilsen finishes this weekend USA Track and Field has already announced will represent Team USA at the Pan American Games in two weeks in Lima, Peru.
“It’s always a goal to make the team, but I think coming in it was more of a dream than a goal. I think it was like oh if I can make the U.S. team and compete for my country, that would be amazing, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it," said Nilsen.
Being ranked top in the country comes with pressure, but with Nilsen is his prime that skies the limit.
“I think I can attribute a lot of my success to being very lucky, and I’m not saying that to try and be humble that is just honesty. I think I was very lucky and blessed to get the right people at the right time," said Nilsen.
Nilsen is one of five USD Coyotes that will be competing throughout the weekend. He will jump this Saturday 2:00, it will be broadcast nationally from three to five that afternoon.