Published on May 29, 2019 by Austin Scott and Joey Mullins  

Samford University track and field athlete Karisa Nelson qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships during the women's' 1500-meter run at the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Florida, May 26-28.
The recent Samford graduate finished inside the top five, automatically qualifying her for a trip to Austin, Texas, where the championship meet will be held June 5-8.
Nelson will be returning to the NCAA Championships, where she finished third in the same event in 2017. In the same year she became Samford’s first NCAA Division I national champion when she won the title in the indoor mile as a junior. Nelson, a Brewton, Alabama native, started running at an early age and always loved to run wherever she was going.
"I've always really liked running," Nelson said. "As a kid, I was always running everywhere. I know a lot of kids are like that, but I was a lot more than normal. I think the reason I started doing it is because my brother did it, and I thought it was cool that he did it. I liked it. I just like to go out there and race."

Following her athletic career, Nelson, a pre-med, biochemistry major, wants to follow her father's example and become a doctor.
"I want to be a doctor, because, you can only run fast for so long, it's really not that long," Nelson said. "I love running, but there are a lot of other things I want to do with my life as well. That's why I'm doing running before medical school, because this is the only time I can do it, but I can make intellectual accomplishments for the rest of my life after this."
To follow Nelson on her journey to the championships, follow @SamfordXC_TF on Twitter, @samfordxctf on Instagram and

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.