After training intensely over spring break, some of the distance runners on the men’s track team were glad to finally get an outdoor race under their belts.
Last Friday, the Bulldogs traveled to North Carolina for the Adidas Raleigh Relays hosted by North Carolina State at Paul H. Derr Track. Although this meet did not feature a team score, there was plenty of competition for the Elis in the form of teams like University of North Carolina, Villanova and Minnesota. The Bulldogs had a slew of strong individual performances, especially from David Napper ’07 and Luke Meyer ’05, in events with a large number of athletes competing.
Meyer had the best Eli performance of the day, finishing seventh in a field of 69 in the 5,000-meter run. Meyer clocked in at 14:22.06, good for an outdoor personal record. Although he had a top 10 performance, Meyer said he was not very pleased with how the race went compared to his last indoor race at IC4A’s.
“My legs felt super before but during I had trouble and I was battling,” Meyer said. “I didn’t feel all that strong but I gave it my best shot.”
Meyer did say that the competition was good in warm North Carolina.
“It feels weird going from colder weather to warmer weather, and the traveling itself is hard,” Meyer said. “You need to travel to get to the good competition, though, so I have no complaints.”
Following Meyer in the 5K were Patrick Dantzer ’06 and Casey Moriarty ’05, both of whom finished with outdoor personal records. Dantzer placed 24th, clocking in at 14:37.99. Moriarty ended up in the top half as well, with 31st place and a 14:46.58. He raced with a back injury that constricted his breathing, but said he remained determined and finished with a good time.
“Next time I am going to really try to cut [my time] down, but this race gives me the confidence that I can run hurt and still PR,” Moriarty said.
In his first 10,000-meter race ever on a track, Napper finished in 11th place with a time of 30:44.85, placing him in the top third of the field of 34 entrants.
Napper said the 25 laps of the race were a challenge to get through.
“Coach [Ireland] said it would start hurting halfway or with 10 laps left, and it did,” Napper said. “After that, I was running on determination and guts to get to the end when my adrenaline kicked in and I could finish hard. It was exhilarating but tough.”
Napper’s last lap of the race clocked in at 1:06, while many of his other laps were around 1:13 or 1:14.
Next on the schedule for the Bulldogs is the Duke Invitational hosted by the Blue Devils April 2 and 3. A larger group of the team’s athletes will be traveling to compete in Durham. Meyer and Moriarty both said they will be racing in the 1,500-meter run and both will be trying to run fast for the shorter race.
Moriarty said he feels more ready for this weekend after competing once already.
“We will go into Duke and other meets down the line more confident because we can better face the pain of racing.” Moriarty said. “Nothing simulates a race like a race.”