By Jamie Crawley
The Virginia Wesleyan College track and field team executed an impressive indoor season this winter. Its success led to high spirits going into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) indoor championships, which was held at the PG Sports Complex in Landover, MD. Wesleyan’s male sprinters turned in an impressive day with record breaking performances which would lead to ODAC championships in the men’s 400-meter run as well as the 4×400 meter relay.
“We were confident. All year we built the mentality to be great and it felt good to showcase it on the ODAC stage,” senior sprinter Chrishaud Hawkins said.
The Marlins not only won the ODAC championship in the 4×400, but they broke a school record (a record they already held) and conference records. A team of four that included Hawkins, Marquis Sivels, Trey White and A.J. Ramirez finished the race with a time of 3 minutes, 21.96 seconds, which was three seconds faster than their previous record of 3 minutes, 24.86 seconds they attained at the Vince Brown Invitational. This time also broke the ODAC conference championship record.
“Coming into the event we didn’t have any doubt, but we knew it wouldn’t come easy and we had to work hard to get it,” said Sivels.
The four runners said the team’s family-like atmosphere is what motivates them. This support is a big advantage for them whenever they go into competitions as the team members constantly boost each other up and encourage each other.
“The chemistry is there. We are always cheering each other on,” White said.
Hawkins echoed White’s sentiments and said he feels the bond they built is something that is special to the VWC sprinters.
“Over the years, the chemistry never faded. We have always come together and did things other teams never do, such as pray before events to name an example. It’s really great to know that these guys aren’t just my teammates, but my brothers,” Hawkins said.
With chemistry being an integral part of the team’s success, freshman sprinter Ramirez did not know what to expect when he came onboard this year.
“At first I didn’t know anyone but Trey. As the weeks went on, I started to get comfortable. I can definitely say it didn’t take long to adjust and build a family,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said White played a large role in getting Ramirez to don Marlin colors, as they both attended Courtland High School, located in Fredericksburg, VA.
“I definitely had a hand in recruiting AJ to VWC based off our time at Courtland. I knew he would fit in right away, and with the successes we’ve been having, I’m glad he decided to come here,” White said.
While the Marlins ran past the competition in the 4×400 relay, White also took home the ODAC trophy in the 400 meter run with a time of 50.44 seconds. This was a personal best for White this indoor season and came very close to the school record, which is a record he currently holds.
Overall it was a successful day for the Wesleyan sprinters, but they know their work was not finished. The team is now preparing for nationals. The qualifying rounds will take place at Tufts University in Boston. This will be the last time the team attempts to qualify for nationals this indoor season.
“Next up for us is leaving to go to Boston and trying to qualify for nationals at Tufts University,” Hawkins said. “As with everything we do here, we are going to stress positivity and family and let the chips fall where they may.”
“I feel with this group of sprinters we don’t have any limitations. No matter what events we participate in, I feel as if we will always have a shot to win it, and when we go to Boston we are going to make sure our hard work pays off,” Sivels said.