By Michevi Dufflart, Staff Writer
Winning a championship title is not easy; let alone winning the 60 meters at the ECAC Indoor Championships. As one of the biggest and most competitive conferences in the country, the ECAC is a big deal.
Each event at the ECAC Indoor Championships is highly competitive but one of the most challenging events is the 60-meter sprint. Even the slightest error in this event can cause an athlete to lose their spot in the top three.
So, when Paige Chapman, a junior from Abingdon, Md. won this event, it showed how far she had come in her career. A humble athlete, when Chapman wins she usually flashes a simple gesture, such as a thumbs up or a grin to her coach, but truthfully she admits that she is never really satisfied.
Even as a sophomore when Chapman sustained a hamstring injury two weeks before the MAAC Outdoor Championships and still won the 100 meter, Mecca notes that “Most athletes might’ve been satisfied, but I think that pushed her, she was upset with not doing even better and knowing how well she could have done if she hadn’t been injured.”
Seeing other runners push themselves and being self-disciplined has encouraged Chapman to push herself as a sprinter. She also emphasizes the importance of self-discipline stating that it can apply almost anywhere in her day to day life outside of track such as the classroom and the workplace.
Before a race, Chapman usually listens to music and visualizes every step of the race so that she can go out and execute it. “That’s really the main thing, I’ll start visualizing a race the day before,” she says.
Chapman also reveals that, when it comes to technique and having rhythm she thinks of music. As a musician, she finds that running to the beat of a song helps her keep rhythm or pace.
In terms of Chapman’s personal strengths, Joe Ryan, associate head coach of sprints and hurdles, also mentions technique saying, “She understands the event from a technical viewpoint which consequently when I ask her to execute certain things she knows exactly what I’m talking about.”
Additionally, Ryan also notes that this year besides running well technically, Chapman is also strong mentally and has a belief in her own abilities leading her to run what Ryan believes is the best technical race he’s seen her run thus far.
Winning the 60 meters at the ECAC Indoor Championships is also an achievement that will be marked in the record books as it allowed Chapman to become the first ever female athlete at Manhattan to win this particular event.
Both of her coaches, Mecca and Ryan, agree that Chapman is highly motivated and is continuously improving. They have high hopes for her in the future and Ryan believes that she can break multiple records such as the school indoor record and the outdoor record.
Chapman hopes to achieve as much as she can before the end of her career noting, “I know that might sound kind of selfish, but I want to set a kind of precedent for other people to chase.” Therefore, Chapman strives for the highest achievements so that other sprinters after her can achieve or surpass her accomplishments.
A hard-worker and respectable person, Mecca emphasizes, “She’s a tremendous athlete, a great person and a very good student. She exemplifies what Manhattan Track and Field is all about.”