ATASCADERO — Last week ended in a whirlwind for Atascadero senior distance runner Ellie Nisbet. On Thursday, Nisbet had the race of her career in the PAC-8 track and field finals, and on Friday she committed to continuing her athletic career at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The pressure that comes with competing for a PAC-8 title coupled with the anxiety of graduating high school and choosing where you will spend your next four years is enough to cripple anyone, but Nisbet handled it with grace. Nisbet is a captain, and runs the 1,600-meters (just shorter of a mile) for the Greyhounds this season. Nisbet set out with one main goal this year, break the school record for the 1600-meter. She came close several times throughout the season, and continued to improve, but Thursday was her final chance to do it at her home track, in front of her friends and family. Nisbet got off to a good start in the race, and with each lap she completed the finish line grew more crowded.
“The race went really well, I’ve been gradually working to get better all season” Nisbet said, “and that record has been a goal of mine all year, and I’m really excited that happened yesterday.”
Nisbet earned second team all-league honors and broke the Atascadero High School record for the 1,600-meter that was set back in 2015. The previous record was held by Brittney Frace, and stood at 5:07. Thursday, Nisbet crossed the finish line with a time of 5:04.52, shattering the previous record by a full two seconds.
Friday, in front of an audience of her friends, teachers, coaches and family she committed to continue her career as a Gaucho. Nisbet had narrowed her choice down to two schools.
“It came down to them [UCSB] and Cal Poly.” Nisbet said. “I really liked UCSB academically, and athletically as well. The location is amazing and I found the campus very welcoming and I liked the staff.”
Nisbet qualified for CIF, which means she has at least one more race for the Greyhounds and still has a few weeks until graduation to enjoy her hometown.
“I’m really going to miss the environment and the community of Atascadero is amazing, not just the school but community as a whole.” Nisbet said of what she will miss most moving to Santa Barbara.
Nisbet embodies all the things that coaches look for in a leader. Head track coach Ben Tomasini talked about what makes Nisbet such a great leader.
“It’s her maturity, work ethic and her positive attitude. We’re really going to miss her leadership, having mature senior leaders like that is always awesome.”
Nisbet, along with the other Greyhounds that qualified for CIF, will continue her season May 20 in the CIF meet, in Cerritos.