For most Tigers, the month of May signals one thing and one thing only: the start of summer. Yet, for a few Tiger athletes, the month of May brings on a whole new meaning.
May is championship season.
Last spring, several track and field athletes competed in the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Matthew Love, a senior from New Braunfels, Texas, represented Trinity in the men’s discus. Love finished in 11th place with a mark of 46.23 meters. Molly McCullough, a junior from Portland, Oregon, placed 15th in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11 minutes, 5.19 seconds.
Senior Britney Sullivan competed in her fifth consecutive track and field championships; she finished in 12th place for the women’s triple jump.
“I prepared by really relaxing my mind a lot,” Sullivan said. “I practiced my technique and form, and took a lot of rest.”
Sullivan emphasized the importance of having fresh legs before all of her races. She does a 30-minute shakeout prior to the race, and relaxes up until it is her time to hit the runway.
“Right before the event, you line up in order,” Sullivan said. “They announce your name and your school and you wave to the crowd. It’s really exciting because you’re about to hop on the runway and compete in front of all of these people.”
At the 2015 outdoor nationals, Sullivan finished 19th, and she finished 13th at the 2016 indoor nationals. She plans on qualifying for the championships again this year.
“I’m thinking about making a few changes to my technique to make things more efficient,” says Sullivan. “I’m just going to take better care of my body and making sure it’s ready for a sixth national championship.”
Two Tigers earned men’s and women’s All-America honors at the Division III Championships.
Senior Cody Hall placed fourth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, which earned him his second All-America accolade.
“It feels great to finally see my hard work manifesting into accomplishments at the national level,” Hall said.
Hall prepared himself for the championships just like it was any other meet.
“I avoid psyching myself out by sticking to my routine and viewing each race as just another race,” Hall said.
While Hall does try to downplay what is at stake, he admits how exciting it is to compete with some of the best athletes in the country.
“Knowing that all the other athletes warming up around you and competing are within the top 20 in the country for [Division III] in their respective events really makes competing at that level so much fun,” Hall said. “The fans show up in big numbers at nationals and cheer for every race, so I always feel like someone is in my corner while I’m running.”
His key to success? “I always have to have my favorite race day meal before I compete “”Frosted Flakes,” Hall said.
Ayriel Coleman, a sophomore from Galveston, Texas, placed seventh in the women’s triple jump. Her mark of 11.98 meters broke the school record, and Coleman became Trinity’s first track and field athlete to earn All-America honors as a first-year.
Track and field wasn’t the only sport to compete at the national level last spring. Tiger men’s tennis duo Wilson Lambeth and Matt Tyer competed in the Division III Men’s Tennis Doubles Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee in May. Lambeth and Tyer came up short in the quarterfinals to Carthage College. The two were the first doubles team to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals from Trinity since 2010.
“Last season was the first time we played together so some things were different than our last partners,” Tyer said. “Time and experience playing together has helped us constantly improve match by match, which we hope will continue throughout this next season so we can have another chance at nationals in the fall.”
Lambeth and Tyer will have a chance to redeem themselves, as they’ll both be returning to the court this year.