Hopkins track and field dominated the NYC DIII Invitational this past week, as both the men’s and women’s teams finished first in the meet. The men were the best of 27 teams, finishing with 98.5 points, while the second-ranked women finished the best of 24 teams, earning 124 points.
One of the top performers for the women was sophomore Therese Olshanski, who set a meet record in the mile with a time of 4:58.10, putting her at first place. The distance medley team also finished on top in 12:13.00.
For the men, junior Matthew Su came ready to jump, launching himself 7 meters to put himself at the top of the long jump leaderboard. Following was senior Benjamin Huang, who finished second in the pole vault with a mark of 4.41 meters,
While there were many great performances from both teams, one that stood out was that of senior Alex Doran. The Bellevue, Wash. native won the mile, cutting his previous personal record down by 24 seconds to 4:16.70. Doran’s time was also the seventh fastest in program history.
With his spectacular run, Doran earned himself the title of The News-Letter’s Athlete of the Week and sat down with us to speak about both his and the team’s recent victories.
The News-Letter: What were the keys to the team’s success at the NYC DIII Invitational?
Alex Doran: We had such a great day as an entire team and like most of our successful days it was enabled by our team culture and the support we have for each other. The sound of my teammates yelling at me with 400 meters to go in the mile was so motivating for me, and I have to credit to them for helping me through the end of that race. Also, the Armory is such a historic venue for track and field, and there’s such an energetic atmosphere that lends itself to fast times. Coming off of three weeks of training over intersession, it’s exciting to see the work start to pay off for everyone as the postseason approaches.
NL: What is your routine before a race?
AD: We have a well-established hour-long warmup routine that [Head Coach] Bobby [Van Allen] has refined over the years, and I really believe in it. Other than that, I just try to take care of the bare necessities like making sure I’m not hungry and that my spikes are double-knotted.
NL: How does it feel to have one of the fastest mile times in program history?
AD: It’s really exciting, mostly because I know so many of the other people in our program’s top-10 list, and I have so much respect for them. The reason I ran this race was mostly to prepare for a fast 3K at Boston University next weekend, so this was a well-timed confidence boost for me, and it was really fun to return to the mile after not racing it in three years.
NL: How have the seniors helped the underclassmen adapt to the level of play in college and how head coach Bobby Van Allen runs the show?
AD: Collegiate track and field is so different than high school track and field, and I think it can be a little overwhelming for a lot of newcomers. Senior leadership on our team has been really strong this year, and I think we have done a great job helping each person adapt to a new level of play both within our event groups and across the whole team. Bobby and [Assistant Coach] Shedrick [Elliott III] (along with our many awesome assistant coaches) are so approachable and really care about each person on the team, so there really isn’t a “Coach Bobby 101” we have to give newcomers. I think that’s something we take for granted and it’s really special to have a coach like Bobby.
NL: How have your teammates pushed you to become a better performer throughout your Hopkins career?
AD: I think most of my improvement over the last four years has largely been enabled by my teammates, and one of the reasons I chose Hopkins in the first place was because of the opportunity to train with a fast and closely-packed group. My teammates push me on hard workout days, keep me accountable for recovery and keep me from getting too bored on two hour runs. Even in a sport that looks very individual-oriented from the outside, it means a lot to have such supportive teammates.
NL: What are your personal goals and the team’s goals for the rest of the season?
AD: My goal for the indoor season is to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track Championships and medal at the Conference Championships. As a team, we are looking for our seventh indoor Conference title on the men’s side and our ninth title on the women’s side, and we are trying to send as many individuals and relays to indoor nationals as possible. We have so many promising freshmen and upperclassmen already having breakthrough seasons, and I’m really excited to see what we can get done!
Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete next on Friday, Feb. 8. The Blue Jays will head to both Boston University for the David Hemery Valentine Invitational and the Naval Academy for the Navy Select Invitational.