Seniors Alec Thibodeaux (Mount Sidney, Va./Fort Defiance) and Tyler Denlinger (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock) each put in impressive performances at this past weekend’s ODAC Championships in Salem, Va. With the feat, the two have notched a spot this week as Co-Royals Athlete of the Week.
Alec handily took first place in the 3000m, setting a meet record in claiming the ODAC title. He claimed a time of 8:40.89, which was a full four seconds better than the previous meet record and nearly nine seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the race. Alec also earned All-ODAC Third Team honors in the 5000m, breaking his own EMU record in 15:23.83.
Tyler won two All-ODAC Second Team spots in his individual races. He finished with a time of 1:56.86 in the 800m, just 0.30 behind the first-place finisher. In the mile, Tyler broke the school record with a time of 4:19.08, and also broke the meet record, along with the first-place finisher. He also won gold with the 4x400 relay team.
Tyler felt extremely confident after his stellar performances.
“Overall this meet was a great success for me,” Tyler stated. “Up until this weekend, I had been slightly disappointed with how my season had been going. I feel that this past Sunday gave a glimpse into what I am capable of, and that energizes me.”
Alec puts winning above all else when he arrives at meets, but felt Sunday was a much more enjoyable feat.
“To me, winning is one of the most enjoyable things in track and field,” Alec explained. “To be able to say that you were better than everyone on that day is special and when that comes at the conference meet, it is even sweeter.”
With the indoor season coming to a close and the outdoor season soon ahead, both Tyler and Alec feel that the momentum built at the ODAC Indoor Championships will help springboard their outdoor seasons.
“I am riding a lot of momentum right now which is one of the most important things in a sport like this,” Alec said. “The outdoor season is the time to translate the momentum and fitness gains into huge breakthrough performances.”
Tyler also puts a lot of stock into the emotional momentum that having big performances can have on a runner.
“Physical momentum and emotional momentum can carry equal weight in the life of a runner,” Tyler explained. “So I recognized how huge this weekend was in giving me the confidence to succeed.”
The two will compete in the Tufts Final Qualifying Meet this weekend in Medford, Mass. Tyler goes into the weekend feeling confident.
“In a last chance meet this weekend we will attempt to qualify a relay for nationals, and I feel confident that we can do it,” Tyler stated. “The pieces all seem to be sliding into place at the right time.”
The seasons of the two runners have been impressive, and after the records broken and the races won over the weekend, the two have made lasting impressions in the record books.
--- by Jake Brown, Sports Information Intern