Winning any event at the National Collegiate Athletic
Association Division III Indoor Track Championships is a big deal. Dan Sullivan
accomplished this and more.
Sullivan, a junior mid-distance runner at the
University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, not only brought home the No. 11 NCAA
Division III Indoor National Championship win for UWSP. He also set a new DIII
national record, posting a time of 4 minutes, 7.03 seconds in the mile.
Sullivan, a native of Elkhorn, Wis., was favored
heading into the event, posting the fastest mile time in Division III this
season at 4 minutes, 8.76 seconds. He surpassed that mark and blew away his
Sullivan explained the experience in one word: awesome.
“There was a lot of hard work put into this, so a lot
of stress gets lifted off your shoulders when you accomplish such a big goal,”
Men’s track and field head coach Rick Witt was very
pleased with Sullivan’s performance. Witt also went into detail about how
Sullivan actually qualified for three events at the National Championships but
wanted to focus on the mile.
“We had elected for him to put all of his eggs in one
basket and go for the mile,” Witt said. “Running all those races in fewer than
15 hours is just too much.”
Sullivan went into this season with high expectations,
as he was also the champion in the mile last year at the Indoor National
“My plan in the beginning of the season was to win at
nationals,” Sullivan said. “There were some ups and downs, but at the end of
the season, I won nationals. I’ve accomplished everything this year that I
could ask for.”
Witt said that Sullivan has improved a lot since coming
to UWSP to compete.
“He was very talented in high school but in running
terms was undertrained. That led to lots of improvement once he got here,” Witt
said. “He has trusted my judgment as far as his development and training is
concerned, and really puts no limits on what we feel that he can accomplish.”
According to Sullivan, upping his miles during the
summer from about 45 to 70 miles a week really helped him improve his
performance this season.
“I worked a lot harder in the off-season than I ever
have before in hopes of defending my National Championship, and it definitely
paid off,” Sullivan said.
Along with winning the National Championship, Sullivan
was named the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s National Indoor Athlete of the Year
by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“This sport is pretty much my life, so to get that type
of honor feels very good,” Witt said. “It’s awesome when you consider how many
outstanding athletes there are in the country.”
With the indoor season wrapped up, Sullivan looks ahead
to his outdoor track season. However, before his season starts, he and Coach
Witt will travel to Stanford University over Easter weekend where Sullivan will
compete against some of the best mile runners in Division I track and field.