Nikki Hiltz sprints to 1500 gold at Pan Am Games
Aptos High alum victorious in first international race in Lima, Peru
By Julie Jag, Santa Cruz Sentinel
It turns out that Nikki Hiltz runs just as fast on international soil as she does at home.
Hiltz of Aptos cruised to victory in the 1500 meters at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on Friday. It took 4 minutes, 7.14 seconds for her to win the gold medal in the first-year pro’s first international race. She likely has many more races on international soil ahead of her, however, as she qualified to race for the USA at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in October after placing third at the USATF National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, two weeks ago. She also has set her sights on next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Hiltz agreed to run at the Pan Am Games before she qualified for the World Championships. She’s the first to admit she wasn’t the USA’s first choice — more like fifth, she guessed — but she apparently was a good one.
“I just said yes because even if didn’t make Worlds, I wanted to represent my country,” Hiltz said prior to her race. “Now it’s here and I’m pretty excited for it. It’s only the Pan American countries and it’s cool because it’s a games, so there are other sports.”
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