A look back in time: Prince Giadolor’s SCAC gold

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Kevin McGuirk passes the baton to Prince Giadolor. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

On April 23, 2016 in Seguin, Texas, an extraordinary feat occurred at Bulldog Stadium. Prince Giadolor, now a University of Dallas alumnus, won the gold medal for the 100-meter dash at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships. Since track and field season has recently begun at UD, it is appropriate to look back in time and remember one of the greatest feats ever accomplished by any member of UD athletics.

Prince Giadolor began his track career all the way back in middle school. As a sophomore in high school, he began running 5A varsity track. During his sophomore season, he ran a 10.8 second 100-meter dash, which was the second fastest time among sophomores in the state of Texas. After transferring to Lake Hill Prep for his junior and senior years, Giadolor’s primary focus changed from track to basketball.

“I didn’t really focus on [track] much,” Giadolor said. “[However, I] still took away third in state as a junior in the 100-meter, and second in state as a senior in the 100-meter in 2A TAPPS.”

When Giadolor first came to UD, his intention was to continue to play basketball rather than pursue track. In his first year at Dallas, he was a starter on the UD men’s basketball team, but failure to make the SCAC basketball tournament brought the season to an early end. However, Giadolor’s competitive spirit, and a day on the track with his brothers, would eventually lead to him joining the UD track and field team.

“I was on the track with both of my little brothers, and one of them was doing well at Heath High School in track,” Giadolor said. “So we lined up and raced, and my dad was there. … I came out of the gate fast, and my dad said ‘you’ve still got it, you got to give track a go while you’re at UD.’ So I talked to Coach [Matt] Barber, we discussed my times, and he said I could be one of the better runners in the SCAC. That spring I joined the track team and starting running.”

Giadolor came into track season at a disadvantage, as the end of basketball and the beginning of the track season overlap. However, Giadolor was fortunate as he had enough time before his first meet to get into good enough shape to compete. On March 25, 2016 Giadolor made his collegiate debut in track, competing in the War Hawk Classic at McMurry University, where he ran a wind assisted 10.84 in the 100-meter dash. His performance at McMurry earned him the SCAC Athlete of the Week Award.

“In the 100-meter I was ranked first, and so I knew at that point [that] winning the conference in the 100-meter pretty much became the expectation for me, and I was holding myself to that all season,” Giadolor said.

There were two enormous obstacles during that season which could have prevented Giadolor from winning his coveted prize: Eric Booker from Trinity University and Texas Lutheran University superstar Marquis Brown. Booker was the defending SCAC champion in the 100-meter dash, who the year before ran 10.95 seconds in the 100. Brown, by his career’s end, had won 15 SCAC medals, 10 gold, four silver and one bronze, and was a four-time NCAA All-American, three times in the 400-meter dash and once in the 4×100 meter relay, and won three NCAA medals, a bronze for the 400 in the 2017 outdoor national championships, a silver in the 4×100 meter relay at the 2018 outdoor national championships, and a gold in the 400 for the 2017 indoor national championships. The stacked field set the stage for what would be a very special 100-meter competition.

The day before the historic race, Giadolor had to run in the preliminary race to qualify for the final. In the preliminary, Giadolor ran his personal best 100-meter time of 10.83 seconds, a time that was tied for 66th nationally in 2016. After qualifying for the final, Giadolor sharpened his focus on the prize of a gold medal in the 100. His concentration was on two details of the impending race: getting out of the blocks well and executing a strong race.

“Going into the day of the championship I was like ‘I have to win,’ ” Giadolor said.

Then came the SCAC 100-meter championship race itself.

“I had a good lane,” Giadolor said. “I came out of the blocks, and I think I just wanted it more than my competitors that particular race because I ended up winning easily. I ran slower than what I ran in prelims. I ran a 10.87, but won easily. It was a big burden taken off my shoulders. … For me, for someone who has been fast their whole life and ran track, my dad is from Nigeria and ran track, I have family members who participated in the Olympics, it was just good to get that hardware. When I found out I was the first SCAC champion for track at UD, that was very special as well.”

Giadolor’s winning time of 10.87 seconds was one of only two times under 11 seconds in the race. Brown was the other sub-11 second runner with a time of 10.99 seconds, and Booker finished 4th with a time of 11.06 seconds. Giadolor’s conference performance capped off his impressive rookie college season and earned him the SCAC Newcomer of the Year Award and 1st Team All-SCAC. Additionally, Giadolor’s season earned All-Region recognition in the South/Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Interestingly, the accomplishment Giadolor is most proud of from the 2016 season is not his gold medal in the 100, but his performance in the 200-meter final.

“I think what I’m most proud of is potentially the 200-meter record, because 21.8 I feel like is just a fast time in general,” Giadolor said. “Not only is that a fast time for D-III, [I feel] like I could compete at D-I meets. I was proud to get that record and run under 22.”

Giadolor’s personal best time of 21.87 seconds in the 200-meter dash won him a silver medal at the SCAC championships, it tied for the 67th best time in the country in 2016 and it is the UD school record. Giadolor’s bid for a second gold medal was foiled by Brown, who ran his own 200-meter personal best time of 21.57 seconds.

Giadolor’s victory in the 100 is the eighth conference championship that has been won by UD.  His championship is the first championship Dallas has won since the Crusader’s volleyball team won in 2009, back when they were in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC); the first track championship since Julie Hendricks won the hammer throw in the American Southwest Conference (ASC) in 2001; the first championship in men’s track since 1997, when Bill Lagor won the 5,000-meter run in the ASC, which is also the only other men’s track conference championship at UD; and it is the first championship won by a team or individual at UD since joining the SCAC in 2011.

“It’s special for me to be a part of this group [of conference champions],” Giadolor said.  “[It’s] special for me to be a part of UD’s athletic history. Just to be the first SCAC champion for track since we joined the SCAC is very special to me. I was thinking about all of the hard work that went into it, and it’s just nice that it paid off.”

Looking back at his historic season and his whole career at Dallas, there are many moments that Giadolor is proud of, but also many things he wishes he could have done better.

“This past year, my last year at UD, I would have liked to have broken some more individual records,” Giadolor said. “However, we shattered the 4×100 meter relay record, and being able to capture another SCAC medal before it all ended was very nice. I wish I was able to drop my time below 10.8 in the 100-meter. I wish I had run even faster at championships when I did capture the 100-meter championship.”

Giadolor is proud that his legacy will always be associated with UD.

“I’m originally from Dallas,” Giadolor said. “I have a lot of Dallas pride. Although there are a lot of people out there, even in the Dallas area, who have never heard of the University of Dallas, when they do learn about the University of Dallas they’ll hear about a guy named Prince who accomplished some pretty cool things in track and field.”

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