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College Track & Field: Iowa State adds premier middle distance runner to roster

This news story was published on June 17, 2019.
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Daniel Nixon
Photo by Blake Williams

AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State track and field program continued to add depth to its men’s middle distance squad with the addition of Daniel Nixon, Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Martin Smith announced Monday. Nixon, who spent his past three seasons at Mississippi State, owns a personal best of 1:47.06 in the 800 meters.

“We are excited to welcome Daniel to our program,” Smith said. “He is coming in as a premier half-miler, and will add experience to our elite middle-distance core. Coach (Jeremy) Sudbury has done a great job recruiting and developing this part of our program. I look forward to seeing what the group can accomplish next year.”

Nixon has been an important part of Mississippi State’s middle distance efforts, having gone under 1:50 in the 800 nine times as a collegiate student-athlete, seven of which came in 2019. The Hoover, Alabama native clocked his personal best of 1:47.06 this past April at the Crimson Tide Invitational. He finished third at the 2018 SEC Indoor Championships at 800 meters to earn All-SEC honors, and during the 2018 outdoor season he won Penn Relays titles in the 4×800 and distance medley relay.

As a prep athlete, Nixon was a three-sport star at Spain Park High School. A three-time high school state champion at 800 meters, he holds the high school state record, and indoor state meet record at his specialty distance.

With the addition of Nixon, the Cyclones have a loaded middle distance squad for 2020. He will be joining a group that includes First Team All-American Festus Lagat, who finished third at 800 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last week in a school record 1:45.05, Big 12 800m bronze medalist Roshon Roomes and his 1:46.88 personal best from NCAA West Prelims last month and Cebastian Gentil, who closed out his freshman season with the first sub-1:50 of his career in 1:49.26 at the conference championships.

The grouping has shown its strength at the Drake Relays, with Lagat and Roomes helping lead ISU to the last two 4×800 titles on the Blue Oval, and Gentil joining them in 2019. Gentil and Lagat helped the Cyclones to the distance medley relay title at Drake back in April, helping give the Iowa State men the 2019 Hy-Vee Cup. The addition of Nixon gives the Cyclones more options to deploy on the track in 2020.

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