In only his second collegiate race, Connor Reilly ’13, a sprinter on the Dartmouth track and field team, set a school record in the 60-meter dash during last Saturday’s meet against the University of Maine. Reilly finished in 6.88 seconds, breaking the previous record by two-hundredths of a second.
“It was weird,” Reilly said. “I false started my first collegiate race, so going into this race I tried not to think about anything. I had no expectations, and I just got to run my own race.”
Three Big Green sprinters shared the previous 60-meter dash record of 6.90 seconds. Mustafa Abdur-Rahim ’04 Th ’05 was the first to set the record, but was later matched by Ikechi Ogbonna ’06. Most recently, team captain Muhammed Abdul-Shakoor ’10 joined Abdur-Rahim and Ogbonna when he tied the record less than a week ago at the Dartmouth Relays.
“I definitely expected it, especially with how [Reilly] ran at the Dartmouth Relays and how he has been training,” sprint coach Sandy Ford-Centonze said. “At the same time, it was only the second race of his college career, so I was extremely excited and surprised with the outcome.”
Abdul-Shakoor added that he expected such a performance from Reilly.
“[Reilly’s record] came as no surprise,” Abdul-Shakoor said. “The week of practice before the meet was really aggressive. I expected and hoped that one of us would do it.”
Although practices have been intense, with weight training, block work and interval sprints, there is no animosity between the two sprinters only friendly competition, he said.
“Connor is a great guy,” Abdul-Shakoor said. “We push each other and offer each other motivation.”
Ford-Centonze also said she believes that the duo make each other better.
“Right now, Connor and Muhammed are really feeding off of each other,” she said.
Reilly, who has been running track since his freshman year in high school, chose Dartmouth (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) because of its strong team dynamic, he said. The team is very close, and teammates are invested in each other’s success, he said.
“[The win] definitely felt great, but I was really more excited about how well the team was doing,” Reilly said.
Reilly and Abdul-Shakoor’s performances, along with strong finishes from several other teammates, led the Big Green to a victory over Maine (0-2, 0-1 America East) this weekend, when Dartmouth won by a margin of 91.5-63.5.
The rookie’s record-setting race has not only helped to push the other sprinters but the rest of the team as well, Ford-Centonze said.
“The reaction from Connor’s teammates was amazing,” she said. “Distance, throws, jumps everyone was excited to see him. This will affect the team in a great way.”
The Big Green will face off against Yale University and Columbia University on Jan. 23 in Leverone Fieldhouse. The meet will give Dartmouth its first look at some of the opponents it will be competing against in late February at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, which will also be held in Leverone.