For the second year in a row Wabash College runners Jake Waterman and Kevin McCarthy will step to the starting line to compete in the 800-meter run at the NCAA Division III Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championship meet. While the approach for this year’s meet will be the same, the experience will be different for both.
“Last year I was a freshman competing at my first national meet,” Waterman said. “I didn’t really know what I was getting into. This year I will head into the meet with more confidence that I might be able to win it or at least get into the top-three places. Last year I was just pleased to make it. This year the expectations are higher.”
McCarthy finished sixth at the 2010 Indoor Nationals, crossing the finish line in 1:54.67. Waterman took seventh place with a time of 1:55.49. Both will compete in the 800-meter run at this year’s meet, to be held Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio.
“It’s nice to be coming back as a more mature runner,” McCarthy said. “Seeing this meet for the first time and seeing what it is all about last year means this year’s meet loses its shock and awe value. Now it’s another meet with better athletes competing.
“Last year I was really nervous. This year I feel less nervous and more experienced It’s kind of cool going to these meets because anything can happen. You can have a good race or bad race. We found that out last year. We both had a bad race in the finals.
McCarthy brings plenty of experience in the national spotlight to the table. He qualified individually for cross country nationals as a sophomore, nearly earning All-America honors with a 46th-place finish. He competed as the 2011 Outdoor Nationals in the 1500-meter run, finishing fifth with a time of 3:52.02. McCarthy became the first Wabash athlete to compete at the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track nationals in the same season.
“This will be my fifth national meet,” McCarthy said. “You glean a little bit out of each national meet. I feel like I should be there this year as opposed to squeaking in last year.”
Assistant Track and Field Coach Roger Busch knows the duo has accomplished a lot of the initial goals set for them. Now the sky is the limit.
“My only expectation for Kevin and Jake is they be coachable and they work hard,” Busch said. “They never shy away from any workout. That goes for program as a whole. It’s hard to put too many expectations on guys. There are so many variables --- training, the environment, the academic setting. Our core expectation for each athlete is to work as hard as you can. All of our guys continue to do that.
“Kevin and Jake have filled the expectation that they can run at the national level. I think there’s a lot more there for them to still accomplish. They can put Wabash on the national level. Jake is close to reaching the qualifying mark for the USA indoor national meet. Kevin could make the USA outdoor national meet next year, barring any setbacks.”
This year’s national meet will already feel like a repeat event for Wabash Head Coach Clyde Morgan and for Waterman. Both will receive regional honors for the second consecutive year from the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Morgan will be named the Great Lakes Regional Division III Men’s Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. Waterman will receive the Great Lakes Regional Men’s Track Athlete of the Year Award for the second time.
The awards presentation will take place at the banquet held Thursday evening prior to the national competition on Friday and Saturday. Morgan's indoor team won the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference last weekend and is 16th in the nation in the final regular season USTFCCCA rankings.
“Jake has earned respect from the coaches around the region and around the nation,” Morgan said. “That award comes from a vote from the coaches. We always talk about working hard and earning the right to run with confidence in our program. He’s done that.
“My award really goes to our staff as a whole. We have a great staff that is committed. They put in both time and effort. We also have a great group of coachable guys. We’ve had some coaching changes this year and lost some guys from the team due to injuries and other circumstances. Some programs crumble when that happens. I think it allowed us to come together as a group as a family. We won two big meets early in the year, then followed with our first conference championship. We don’t win those meets and win the conference championship if we couldn’t come together as a team. I firmly believe if you don’t have a great staff around you, that doesn’t happen.”
Photos - (top right) Jake Waterman and Kevin McCarthy on the awards platform after finishing in the top eight at the 2010 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championship meet.
(Middle left) McCarthy and Waterman competing at last year's nationals.
(Bottom left) Head Coach Clyde Morgan will receive the 2011 USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Men's Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year Award. He was also the 2010 recipient.
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