* Tucker competes at the NIAA 5A Southern Regionals in 2022.
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With the outdoor track and field season now underway, Palo Verde senior Nasir Tucker could be one of the top athletes to watch as he chases greatness at every sprint distance.
Nevada's top returner in not just the boys 100m, but also the 200m and 400m, Tucker enters 2023 as the defending 5A outdoor champion across all three events and hunts for even greater success. His PRs from last year of 10.61 in the 100m, 21.46 for the 200m and 48.82 at 400m all rank among the top 40 performances all-time in Nevada outdoor history.
But as a senior in 2023, Tucker isn't done making his mark on Nevada track and field history.
MileSplit spoke with Tucker ahead of his final high school competition season to see what his hopes are for 2023, as well as what he feels was the key to his rise in the Nevada sprint scene.
Q: What made you interested in track and sprints to begin with?
A: "Really it was my dad, my parents and my siblings. When I was younger, they were always faster than me, my siblings. My mom saw that and she took me on the track team and, first year, went to Junior Olympics at nine years old. I fell in love with the sprints."
Q: What do you remember most from your times competing in Junior Olympics and youth track and field, and what did you learn from it?
A: "There were a lot of faster kids than me. A lot. I was just starting. That's what I remember, there was a lot of competition. But I still felt like I did decent coming in my first year."
Q: From your sophomore to junior seasons, you showed tremendous improvement. You went from not competing at the NIAA 5A state meet to winning three individual state titles the following season as a junior. What was the key to that progression?
A: "Really from that time sophomore year, it's just what motivated me. That's actually what it did. It made me think I should really focus on this more and keep it up and I could probably be way faster than I was at that time."
Q: What emotions were you feeling when you won those three state titles? What was that moment like for you?
A: "At first, I was shocked. I was really shocked because I was injured at that time. Something happened in my knee - it popped - during that time. But I was really happy though. I was happy that I was a state champion. Can't complain."
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/MileSplit Nevada
Q: Was there ever a moment during your track career -- whether a race, meet, practice, etc. -- when everything just clicked, perhaps maybe when you realized that you could become one of the best sprinters in Nevada? If so, describe that moment.
A: "I did have a moment like that. It was actually last year during one of the meets when I went under 11 seconds (in the 100m). First time doing that. It clicked, and I was like 'OK, I think I can be the fastest in the state.'"
Q: You're the top returner in the entire state of Nevada in the 100m, 200m and 400m. What are the expectations for you now that we are just a month away from the start of the outdoor season?
A: "The goal for this year really is to just earn a scholarship. That's what I'm really trying to do and run at the next level. I have a couple more goals like PRing, running my fastest times, but also getting points in the next state meet to help Palo (Verde) get a title. I say for the 100m, 10.3, the 200m, under 21 and the 400m, 47. That's really what I'm focused on right now."
Q: Any thoughts/goals to qualify for a national meet during outdoor? And if you do get to the national stage, how do you hope to put Nevada on the map competing against athletes from other programs across the country?
A: "Yes, that's exactly what I'm looking for right now. Just keep doing my best, keep trying to grind, get to the higher level. Just got to keep doing that. Keep working."
Q: Looking back on the tremendous progression you've made, from not running at states to becoming a multi-time state champion, what can you look back on and be most proud of?
A: "I'm just proud that all that hard work paid off. I'm a state champion and that's what I'm most proud of. I'm proud of being a positive person, never thought I could be, and just staying out of trouble. I'm proud of myself."