Both Track Teams Primed for Peak Performances at Conference

Ian Robertson – With an insatiable, fiery passion to improve and maximize one’s ultimate potential, it could be said that every sport’s best competitors are never truly satisfied with their performance. However, it could also be argued that in certain sports, like Track & Field, this lack of satisfaction reaches a new extreme. The ever elusive perfect track race may not exist, just by the sheer fact that an athlete could always run a split second faster, throw just a foot farther, or jump an inch higher.

While track athletes may be notorious for rattling off their personal best performances and obsessing over such performances, none of this matters come championship time. Thus, while the Davidson track & field teams are hoping to build off strong performances and carry over momentum to the A-10 Championships being held at UMass on May 6th- 7th, they also want to believe that such performances do not place a ceiling over what could be achieved at the A10 Championships.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have arguably their most well-balanced teams ever, as recruiting in recent years has been focused on building teams that can compete across the board in every event. In the past the teams have been mostly distance-oriented, competing well in events like the 10k and 5k but essentially giving up crucial points in the sprints and field events. Efforts to change such a trend have been demonstrated through the addition of current Davidson student-athletes for the upcoming fall season. Will Wicks ’20, a two-time N.C. state champion, posted impressive times of 10.5 in the 100 and 21.7 in the 200-meter dash in high school and is hoping to continue his success in college. Tony Collins ’20 will compete in discus for the Wildcats. Both players are members of the football team.

The freshmen class of the women’s team have also shown immense promise. Carly Peters ’20 has been a stand-out performer in the javelin, setting the school record in the event in her first ever collegiate meet and earning A-10 Track and Field Women’s Rookie of the Week. Jada Woods, who is part of the 4×100 squad, is also a record-setting jumper. She is a school record holder in the indoor triple jump and is looking to build off her impressive third place finish at the A-10 indoor championships.

Veteran female runners, including Hannah Rieden ’17, Sarah Sears ’18, Caroline Yarbrough ’19, and Tori Long ’19 are ready to make their mark at the A-10 championships. Rieden, who has consistently bettered the program record in the 800-meter run, ran another program record 2:08 at the Duke Invite. Sears set a new personal record in the 800-meter run with 2:13 earlier in the season while Long also broke a program record at the Duke Invite, recording 57.52 seconds in the 400-meter dash. Finally, Yarbrough broke 17 minutes for the first time at the George Mason Invitational. She was the second collegian finisher to cross the line.

On the men’s side, George Williams ’20 and Garrett Nickelson ’20 have been standout performers. Particularly given the important role the 4x400m often plays as a typical track meet’s final event, their success bodes well for the coming three years. Williams and Nickelson have both consistently cracked the sub-50 second barrier this season, with Nickelson running 49.7 seconds and Williams running an even more impressive team-best 48.29. Sean Caveney ’19 is continuing the success of the sprints on the men’s side, running a new personal record of 53.06 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles at the Duke Invite.

Will Brewster ’17, Walker Mogen ’17, and Dylan Carmack ’19 lead the way for the men’s distance squad. If the past 2 years are any indication, Davidson athletes will be contenders in all the distance events.

Brewster will be looking to defend his title in the 10k from last year’s outdoor championships and the 5k title he claimed indoor. When asked about his mentality going into such a big-time meet, Brewster acknowledged, “I’m just pumped full of adrenaline and nerves. It’s the rawest form of competition, as time goes out the window, and the focus is on beating people, plain and simple.”

Carmack will also be looking to score key points for the Cats’ in the 5k and 10k, having recently having won the 5k at the Mason Invitational with a personal best of 14:32. At the competitive Duke Invite last weekend, Mogen ran a 3:52 in the 1500m to assure his place in the top section of the event at the A10 championships. The Senior Captain acknowledged that “because we have a smaller team its nearly impossible to win,” but continued by saying “we’re to do all that we can to put up a good fight. Individually, I hope to help the team by scoring as many points as I possibly can while trying to enjoy my last time competing as a competitive runner.”

Evidently, with the strong mix of veterans and newcomers, the team is feeling optimistic about their chances at the A-10 championships. Brewster reiterated the importance of being confident and having faith in all the work that has been put in up to this point, noting that “I’m usually much more confident going into championship races because Coach Waldron does a great job preparing us for the moments that matter the most.” With this being many of the Senior’s last opportunities to compete in a Davidson uniform, the teams are hopeful their hard work will culminate with such a peak in performance when it matters most.