TRACK AND FIELD: Lubbock's Schneider hit the ground running and hasn't stopped
Jun 17, 2012 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Nathan Schneider learned to run once he trained himself to walk.
Well, that's the way his father, Mike, tells the story to anyone who asks how Nathan Schneider, 7, gained an affinity for track and field.
"Ever since he started putting his left leg in front of his right, he's been fast," Mike Schneider said. "He was born for it."
Nathan Schneider, who competes for the Lubbock Olympians club team, continued to add on to his father's story Saturday, placing second in the Sub-Bantam Boys division of 100-meter and third in the 400-meter dash at the 2012 USATF West Texas Association Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at Ratliff Stadium.
"I like running and racing," said Nathan Schneider, who also competes in gymnastics and football. "I really like the 100 because it's not that far and I don't have big enough legs to run distance yet."
Nathan Schneider had the legs to qualify for the USATF Region 12 Junior Olympic Championships, which is scheduled for July 3-7 in Lubbock, by tallying times of 16.52 seconds in the 100 and 1:23.60 in the 400.
The top six finishers in each event from Saturday's meet -- top three for relays -- advance to compete in the USATF Region 12 meet at Texas Tech's Fuller Track Stadium.
"That one is going to be a good one because we live in the Lubbock area," Mike Schneider said. "Nathan should be relaxed and will have a crowd of his teachers and family going to watch him."
Last year, Nathan Schneider finished eighth in the 100 and sixth in the 200 when he competed in the USATF West Texas Association Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.
Charles Planks, coach of the Lubbock Olympics, said Nathan Schneider's willingness to keep running, and determination to want to win first place, will carry him a long way during his athletic career.
"He feels he can do it and that's a big deal because it makes you compete at a high level," Planks said.
That's the same mentality Odessa's Miah Nelson developed when she started her track and field career with the Tall City Christian Track Club.
Nelson, who will be a sophomore at Permian in the fall, said she cultivated her winning frame of mind after she experienced many finishes outside of the top 3.
"I don't think I ever got a first-place medal when I was little," Nelson said. "I didn't get my first medal until fourth grade. That's a lot of time to lose and a lot of time to want to win."
Nelson has since been balancing the scale to the winning side with first-places finishes in the 400 (59.06) and 800 (2:19.55) in Saturday's Intermediate Girls running events, along with a fifth-place finish in the 800 at the 2012 UIL Class 5A Track and Field State Championships in May.
Though Nathan Schneider didn't have the same success as Nelson at Saturday's meet, he said that is not a priority at this point. Right now, he is focused on running hard and celebrating with the rest of the competition after a completed race.
"You're just happy when you cross the finish line," Nathan Schneider said. "The best part is you get to see if you get a medal and see what your time was. ... Then you do it again."
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