Believing in yourself when you step foot on the track and get set in the blocks at the starting line is a key for success and that’s just the mentality the Tarleton State University national champion 4x400m relay team went into their final race with.
“Winning the championship was an unbelievable experience,” said relay member Cameron Krc. “We knew we were coming in to the national championships with one of the fastest times, but we went in to the race with humility and honestly gave it our best shot. It’s always a blessing when the fruits of your labor pay off.”
And not only did the the team swipe a national championship, but they did it in school record-breaking fashion recording a time of 3:08:25 in a race which saw Lone Star Conference foes Angelo State University and Texas A&M-Commerce also take the podium.
“When we race against our Lone Star Conference rivals it’s never really about time,” said Krc. “When we broke the school record first at the conference meet, as well as at nationals, all we were really focusing on was trying to beat Angelo and Commerce. It was a blessing that two school records came out of it.”
Things weren’t all highlights for the Texan relay team over the weekend however, as they faced a bit of adversity when they ran their prelim race the day before and posted a 3:10:95, which was only fifth fastest. But the team didn’t look into any of that come race day for the finals.
“Prelims is always funny to look back on because a lot of teams we really can’t gauge if they’re truly going full out to make it in or just trying to breeze by,” said relay member Gilson Umunnakwe. “We didn’t have a good race plan due to the fact an accident happened on the track and there was a delay which threw us off. After the race though I did find myself second guessing if I was truly ready for the finals, but I then I realized I only had to remember my training and what the team and I were here to accomplish.”
When everything was said and done and the baton had crossed the finish line, emotions ran strong with the team as they finally accomplished what they had set out to do.
“I was just thinking 'wow', when it finally happened,” said Umunnakwe. “I had a lot of mixed emotions. One thing I can say, the first thing I did when I crossed the line was look up and thank God for this opportunity and allowing us Texans to finish this race with no injuries and allowing us to come home with another national championship. Also, I was happy because the one thing I always wanted to do before I graduated was bring Coach Hobbs a national championship.”
Looking forward, the team says they aren’t done and are already looking forward to next season.
“This next year looks promising,” said Krc. “We don’t have a single relay leg graduating so we plan to bring this momentum into next season.”