Senior thrower Diana Hassink broke her own school record and won the University of Dallas women’s track and field program’s first ever gold medal at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championships this past weekend.
“I had that mindset this whole season, just working toward that goal to win the SCAC championship in shotput,” Hassink said. “I wanted to be so comfortable with the shotput that I wouldn’t even have to think about it in the ring.”
Hassink’s winning throw was 40 feet 2.75 inches (12.26 meters), beating Texas Lutheran’s Jada Jackson’s second place throw of 38 feet 2 inches. It was the third time Hassink broke the school record in her career.
“Right before the event I had thrown hammer and I didn’t throw as well as I wanted to, so I was pretty upset,” Hassink said. “Honestly it gave me perspective going into shot put. First of all, [I] was angry, so that was nice. I’m here to win this and nothing’s going to stand in my way because I am getting it.”
Hassink was confident she had won the event at the moment they announced her distance.
“Beating them wasn’t really as much of a worry for me as hitting the 12 [meter mark].”
This is UD’s second SCAC Championship in any sport in its history, its first being Prince Giadolor’s 100-meter dash championship two years ago.
“That was icing on the cake, so I was like, ‘well, now my name will go down in history forever, I’ll see my face at UD,’” Hassink said.
The men’s and women’s teams combined to win three medals overall at the meet, with both teams finishing fifth overall.
Freshman pole vaulter Hannah Green won a silver medal in the pole vault, tying Trinity’s Emma Pool with a jump of 9 feet 11.25 inches.
Green broke the school record as well in the process, set at 9 feet 8 inches by herself and fellow freshman Anna Brunk at the Pioneer Invitational three weeks ago.
The men’s 4×100 meter relay team also medaled, when the team of senior Charles Obegolu, junior Kevin McGuirk, freshman Patrick Andrews, and junior Prince Giadolor finished third and broke the school record in the process.
The team knew Trinity and Texas Lutheran would likely finish first and second in the race, which they did, but that UD had a strong chance to finish in the third slot.
“We knew we had the potential to beat Southwestern, and I also thought we had the potential to reset the school record in the process,” McGuirk said.
The team was confident up to the beginning of the race.
“I remember Prince saying something along the lines of, ‘just get me the baton and we’re going to be fine,’” McGuirk said.
That’s what happened, as Giadolor got the baton for the final leg of the race within striking distance.
“Going into the final leg [Southwestern was] ahead by probably ten meters, and then once Prince got the baton on the home stretch it was like he was shot out of a cannon,” McGuirk said.
This was the last meet for most of the seniors, but those returning are excited for the potential of the growing program.
“I’m so thankful for my coach, so glad I got this opportunity, I’m so glad that Tom Pierick told me to throw track,” Hassink said.
“Next year personally is going to be a lot of fun, but it is also going to be a little sad,” McGuirk said. “It’ll be fun, but it’ll also be very very different.”
Hassink continues to train, hoping to get a chance to compete in a last chance meet in the coming weeks and qualify for the regional track meet.