Olympus coach Zana Spratling loves to talk about the many, many qualities of her star midfielder Hannah Nelson. Whether it’s her leadership, her demeanor, her genuine personality or her athleticism, she’s been a four-year asset for the Titans program since starting her very first game as a freshman.

As much as anything, Spratling said Nelson was great at “sensing the temperature” of her teammates and the flow of the game and would respond accordingly.

“If we were down by three, she’d go score four, because she just knows that’s her role,” said Spratling.

That specific scenario rarely happened as 5A champion Olympus rarely trailed, but Nelson’s ability to sense the pulse of her team was apparent in the championship game against Park City.

With Park City only trailing 6-4 after a quick goal to start the fourth quarter, Nelson sensed a potential shift in momentum so she went out and scored three quick goals in five minutes to effectively clinch the state championship.

Rising to the top: Sargent, Baker and Mickelsen named 2024 girls lacrosse Players of the Year

Those three goals were the 196th, 197th and 198th of her remarkable career for Olympus that she capped as a two-time state champ and being named the Deseret News 2024 Ms. Lacrosse recipient — the fourth in the brief history of the award.

“She is the epitome of Ms. Lacrosse: talented, humble and above all a team player. Everyone adores Hannah and we will miss her greatly,” said Spratling.

Nelson finished the season with 64 goals, 23 assists and a 58.7 shooting percentage. She added 86 draw controls as she finished her career with 520.

She always tried to do it outside of the spotlight.

“She doesn’t love the attention, but she’s really good when she wants to be, and she’ll get it done. She loves winning for her teammates more than herself,” added Spratling.

It’s a trait she’s always tried to embody, particularly the past couple seasons as an upperclassman.

“I’ve always tried to be a good teammate and help my teammates out, and help them play their game and give them good opportunities during the game,” said Nelson.

She had several opportunities to go on and play Division 1 college lacrosse, but the triplet and her two siblings, Lily and Jonny, are extremely close and made a pact to enroll at BYU together.

BYU only has a women’s lacrosse club team, which Nelson hopes to play for, but focusing on school and a degree in medicine will be her priority.

High school girls lacrosse: Deseret News 2024 6A all-state team
High school girls lacrosse: Deseret News 2024 5A all-state team
High school girls lacrosse: Deseret News 2024 4A all-state team

As Nelson departs the Olympus program, one of Spratling’s fondest memories of her was one of the first.

As a freshman, Nelson immediately started as Olympus’ draw center, and had great success early on. In Game 4 against Waterford, she had a sequence that Spratling recalls she lost three draws in a row and immediately subbed herself off.

“She came up and talked to me and said, ‘Zana what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, you tell me.’ So she talked herself through it and then put herself back in and then won like the next five draws,” said Spratling.

She went to win 203 draws that freshman season. That stat decreased each of the next three seasons as she shared that responsibility with her teammates, but she didn’t mind one bit as she was always happy to put team success over personal accolades.

Both came naturally with her athleticism and 5-foot-11 height.

Olympus’ Hannah Nelson keeps the ball from Park City’s Maddie McHenry in the 5A girls lacrosse championship game at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Thursday, May 23, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News
View Comments

Both were on display in two of those crucial goals in the state championship game that wrestled away momentum. The goal that pushed the score to 7-4, Nelson slashed quickly in front of goal with teammate Sarah Anne finding her with a quick pass followed by a quick shot.

Olympus’ eighth goal less than two minutes later was a near mirror-image finish as Nelson scored on a pass from Lizzie Anne.

Nelson capped the scoring for Olympus on an 8-meter shot, as she finished with a hat trick in all four playoff wins. It wasn’t necessarily the spotlight she wanted, but she was fine fulfilling it to cap her career as a state champ.

“The best player is not only a standout performer on the field but also a leader in the locker room — a role model who inspires teammates to elevate their own game. Hannah Nelson is that player. She demonstrates resilience in overcoming challenges and remains composed in critical moments, making decisive plays that impact the outcome of games,” said Spratling.

Past Deseret News Ms. Lacrosse winners

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.