The St. Thomas University track and field team had an exciting year after the women’s relay team competed at Harvard Stadium in Boston, Massachusetts on Jan. 21.
“There wasn’t very much pressure because there wasn’t very big expectations,” third-year student Sarah Hickman said.
Despite the low expectations, STU did extraordinarily well. Competing against other schools in the United States, the women’s 4x200m relay team snagged first place in it’s heat and for the overall competition.
“A lot of athletes came in top five, top 10,” Hickman said.
“There were a lot of STU records set that day.”
Hickman broke two STU records on her own in the 200m and 300m race with of 28.37 seconds and 45.24 seconds.
In addition to the success in Boston, St. Thomas also did well at the Atlantic University Sports championships in Moncton on Feb. 23 and 24 where they finished a lot higher than normal.
“We had a school record broken and we had a lot of people get personal bests,” said third year Hannah Clarke.
Clarke, who has been on team for three years, beat her personal best in the 300m race by almost a second and 200m race by about half a second.
Beating personal bests was a running theme for the track and field team this year, Clarke said.
“Everybody has definitely taken seconds off of their times.”
Kelly Brennan, another third-year student, also managed to shave a few seconds off her personal time by choosing to focus on the 300m race, which resulted her coming in second in heats instead of last.
In addition to beating personal goals on the track, Hickman also added she saw the team had improved mentally with a positive atmosphere.
“By the end of the season I really feel that we’re more of a family. We’re very small and we’re very close now, which is great for competing wise and relay wise,” Hickman said.
Head coach Greg Allan is said to be one of the largest reasons for the team’s success.
Ryan Terry, a second-year student, said Allan has “really developed the team and made it stronger as a whole.”
One thing director of athletics Mike Eagles was pleased to see was the team had found its identity as a running team in conjunction with the cross-country team.
“We’ve been working towards getting athletes that are committed to running for cross and track,” Eagles said.
“Getting the right commitment level to see improvements over the course of the year, that’s been our goal.”
According to Hickman, the future of the track and field team is bright.
“We’re really ready to improve for next year and come back strong, and I know all the athletes are really excited to continue their training and have set goals for next year, no matter what direction we go in.”