Four years after the founding of the GW’s track and field program, the men’s team is hitting its stride with only one meet left before the Atlantic 10 Championships.
During the past two months, six different Colonials have set seven new indoor program records. GW runners have scored program highs at all four meets so far this season and attributed their success to the sense of community and competitiveness from their teammates.
“I think the program as a whole is starting to come together,” senior middle-distance runner Ed Delavergne said. “It’s more of a family atmosphere and we all keep track of each other and it’s nice.”
The team has established new records in the 400-meter, 1,500-meter, 5,000-meter and mile races, along with the triple jump. Delavergne set top marks in the 300-meter and 500-meter dashes this season, with times of 37.79 seconds and 1:08.32, respectively.
The team’s success is due to a number of members of the squad seeing the culmination of their efforts from their time in Foggy Bottom come to fruition, senior middle-distance runner Chris Shaffer – who broke the men’s indoor mile record at the Patriot Games last week with a time of 4:11.94 – said.
Shaffer is one of five seniors who competed with GW for the first time in the same year the University launched its outdoor and indoor track programs as varsity sports. Over the years, he said he has seen his teammates grow as runners and jumpers.
“Adding track we’ve really gotten a different level of runners that we’ve gotten through the program,” Shaffer said. “We’ve really progressed as the years go by, and it’s really cool to see all the hard work that we’re doing.”
He said the team has started to adopt a more competitive mindset. After placing a program-best third in the A-10 Cross Country Championships this fall, the Colonials have become more confident in their abilities, he added.
“We were getting a lot of confidence,” Shaffer said. “Everyone knows that we can compete with anyone in the A-10 and I think that mentality has been there this year.”
Since GW is limited to sending three or fewer runners per event to the A-10 Championships, Shaffer said the competition between teammates to race only makes the program stronger.
On the short-distance side, Delavergne said the small circle of runners – who don’t compete in cross country events – have built off of their offseason training and last year’s results to run with more endurance during this track season.
“There’s no learning phase this year,” he said. “Because most of us were new last year, I think we’re all ready to roll, we’re all ready to get going.”
Sandwiched between the schedules of cross country and outdoor track and field, the indoor track regular season is only nine weeks long – making the training even more accelerated.
“The indoor season is probably our shortest but probably our most intense season of all three seasons that we run,” head coach Terry Weir said.
The seventh-year coach, who has helmed the track and field program since it was established, said the indoor track season’s success is another stepping stone toward his ultimate goal – an A-10 Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
“The nice thing is, if we do run fast indoors, if we do get [personal records] like we are right now, that’s nice, but we’re not overall peaking yet,” Weir said. “We’re not really backing off or peaking a whole lot right here.”
With the rest of the indoor season and a whole outdoor track and field season ahead of them, Delavergne and Shaffer said their current records don’t satisfy their ultimate goals.
“It’s rewarding,” Shaffer said. “It’s always good to have a good performance, but I’m not willing to stop there. I want to run faster than what I did.”
The runners are already looking to build off the energy and success from this indoor season to set new records in future years, Delavergne said.
“You learn something about yourself and your team in literally every event,” Delavergne said. “This team has potential and especially over the next year and a half, I think that it could be something special.”