Sophomore standout one of four female athletes in the country scheduled to compete in mile and 3,000 in Albuquerque, becoming first competitor in program history to qualify in both events in same year, as she seeks first women’s indoor title in any event for Scarlet Knights
By Mary Albl of DyeStat
Alex Carlson grew up attending Rutgers football games.
Roughly 30 minutes from her hometown of Annandale, N.J., the idea of one day attending Rutgers University and becoming a Scarlet Knight was always in the back of her mind.
“I’ve known I’ve always liked the school and it’s something my dad and I have always talked about,” Carlson said.
So when it came time for the local standout distance runner from North Hunterdon High in New Jersey to make a decision about where to continue her academic and running journey in college, her choice was a familiar one.
“It was more of a decision between here and Penn State, and I decided I’d rather be closer to home and I liked coach (Matt Jelley) and I thought it would be a good fit.”
In an age when the allure of big name universities can sway one’s decision, Carlson has bucked the notion that you need to go far away from home to experience success.
In just two seasons with Rutgers, the New Jersey resident has already established her name as one of the best to ever don a Scarlet Knights jersey.
With four indoor track records to her name, Carlson has quickly developed into one of the best distance runners in the country.
She enters Friday’s NCAA Division 1 Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico as the No. 5 seed in the women’s mile (4:31.51) and No. 13 in the 3,000 meters (8:56.15).
Carlson joins Dutch athlete Amina Maatoug from Duke, New Zealand native Maia Ramsden of Harvard and Oregon State’s Kaylee Mitchell as the only athletes scheduled to compete in both the mile and 3,000 in Albuquerque.
It marks the first time in program history that a Rutgers student-athlete has qualified for the Division 1 indoor meet in both events in the same year.
“Talent in New Jersey has gone away, but for her to be doing what she’s doing, showcases what we’re trying to sell – you can stay home, represent yourself and New Jersey at Rutgers at the highest level,” Matt Jelley said.
Carlson’s rapid ascend to that next level can be described as a blur.
As Carlson puts it, her success has felt like a “really big jump.”
Carlson, who played soccer until middle school, started…
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