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Prep track: Northwestern's Nelson gets disqualification ruling overturned

Tess Nelson used part of Wednesday's practice working on her 300-meter hurdle start times. The Northwestern senior was just glad to be practicing her favorite event, the one she had been disqualified from during Monday's Wisconsin Division 2 regi...

Tess Nelson
Northwestern's Tess Nelson will compete in today's Sectional 1 meet. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Tess Nelson used part of Wednesday's practice working on her 300-meter hurdle start times.

The Northwestern senior was just glad to be practicing her favorite event, the one she had been disqualified from during Monday's Wisconsin Division 2 regional track and field meet in Frederic, Wis.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association overturned that decision Wednesday, allowing the two-time defending state champion to compete in today's Sectional 1 meet at Barron.

"That was good news to hear," Tigers coach Noah Jurek said. "She's thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to defend the title. She's going to give it a go (today)."

Dave Anderson, the executive director of the WIAA, called the original disqualification "unusual" and said that after a review of statements from meet officials, the National Federation of Track and Field rulebook and WIAA tournament procedures a determination was made to reinstate Nelson.

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"We found nothing that supported the procedures that were used to disqualify the young woman," Anderson said. "As such, we will reinstate her for the sectional meet."

Neither Jurek nor Nelson preferred to go into details regarding the reason for the disqualification. Nelson was not DQ'd for a false start by officials at the starting line and easily won the race before another official apparently stepped in to rule against her.

"There was a misinterpretation of the disqualification rule," Jurek said, "and after further investigation from the WIAA, they decided to reinstate her."

Nelson did not return phone messages, but did reply to a text.

"There is not much I can say about the whole situation," she said. "I am very grateful and excited that I will be able to run (today)."

Jurek said the original ruling caught him off guard. During ensuing discussions with veteran coaches, Jurek said they told him they had never seen a similar instance.

"I definitely was surprised (at the original ruling), based on the actions that took place, but I think it was a fair result in the end," Jurek said.

The race has been re-seeded with Nelson given a time of 50.44 seconds. That's fifth-best in the section, though she ran in the 45-second range in defending her title at last year's state meet.

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Nelson also is entered in the 100 hurdles, where she is seeded first (15.91), and the 1,600 relay.

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