photo of Nolan Malcomson (Wells, 2022) - 2022 Sullivan Award Winner, during a hurdle competition

Nolan MalcomsonNolan Malcomson

photo of Nolan Malcomson (Wells, 2022) - 2022 Sullivan Award Winner, during a hurdle competition

2022 Sullivan Award Winner ~

Nolan Malcomson is no stranger to being first at something.

After all, the 2022 Ida B. Wells graduate was a two-time Oregon state champion in the 300-meter hurdles and set the school record in the event (37.48) as a senior. And, of course, plenty of firsts came, in both the 300m and 110m hurdles, in all the dual and district meets leading up to the championships.

But being No. 1 that frequently didn’t make his most recent first any less special. In the summer of 2022, Nolan was one of the first two winners of the Denny Sullivan Scholarship Award, which recognized Nolan’s achievements both on the track and in the classroom at Wells, where he maintained a 3.7 GPA.

“When Butch [Lumby], (Scholarship founder, Grant, 1962) called me and told me I’d won, it was awesome; I was really happy,” Nolan says. “To be the first male recipient of the award is really cool.”

Nolan used the $5,000 scholarship to support his first year at Lane Community College in Eugene, where he competed last spring for the Titan track team in the 110m high hurdles, 440m hurdles and 4x400m relay.

“I’m pretty happy with how I did my first year,” he says. “I got second in the 400-meter hurdles at the NWAC championships and placed seventh in the high hurdles.”

Moving away from home and getting into the college mindset was “definitely a learning curve,” Nolan says. “It took me two to three months to get into it. That’s when I finally felt settled and comfortable living on my own and making decisions for myself. I had good roommates, including a couple teammates, that helped as well.”

While Nolan says he doesn’t know that he was necessarily born to be a track star, there were signs early on that he was destined to do something that involved a lot of running around.

“My parents (Steve Malcomson and Jolea Ulschmid) used to tell me stories about how they’d always struggle to keep me next to them,” he recalls. “I was constantly running around, a crazy kid. I remember Dad telling me one time after he saw me running around in a field, he could see me one day being a track athlete.”

Nolan showed some early potential in seventh and eighth grade and took off once he made the varsity team as a freshman at Wells. “That’s where I met my hurdles coach, who really pushed me to my limits.”

That coach, a former University of Oregon track athlete named Sol Sallos, held the Ida B. Wells (then Wilson) 300m hurdles record that Nolan wound up breaking his senior year.

As Nolan heads into his second year at Lane, he’s keeping his mind open about his future track and career plans.

“Running at Hayward Field and competing for Oregon would be cool, but I don’t want to set my sights just on the U of O. I’m just going to run this year and see where it goes from there.”

When it comes to a future career, Nolan says he’s now pursuing a business transfer degree and is interested in a career in a related field, such as marketing, accounting or financing. Until then, on his visits back to Portland, he may even do a little coaching. Nolan’s younger sister, Ava, is now a hurdler at Wells, a development he’s proud to take at least a little credit for.

“I think my hurdling definitely piqued her interest and encouraged her,” he says.

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