Article and interview by Alex Arriaga, Anna Baumann, and Wyatt Boyer
Breaking a record or winning a significant medal is an achievement anyone dreams of. However, not everyone is capable of accomplishing it. To attain this, you need inspiration, courage and above all, to have the soul of a champion. This is what Dylan Webster, a junior at Greenville University, has been able to accomplish. He is majoring in Criminal Justice alongside a minor in Business Management. Webster is a part of the Greenville University Men’s Track and Field Team and competes in the multi’s as well as pole vault. He broke two records in multi: the long-jump record and the pole vault record for the Heptathlon. The Heptathlon is a combination of seven events in which long and high jump are included.
Being a junior and breaking a school record, Webster says, “It’s pretty cool. I actually don’t know; I think it was my sophomore year I broke it the first time. Me and my cousin actually, Wes Kyle, (another GU student) we go back-and-forth breaking it. And it’s kinda like, everyone teases us for it on the track team.”
The secret to this success? “[Well,] most people think it’s weird, but, the day before, I’ll drink at least 2 hydration drinks,” Dylan says. “Then, the morning of, I don’t eat anything until the meet or after I’m done competing, and I’ll usually have 2 RedBulls while I’m competing.” If you think that that’s not very healthy for a collegiate athlete, here’s what Dylan’s got to say about that. “Everybody’s like, ‘That’s not healthy!’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t care, it works.’”
The Day the Record Broke (Again)
On the day of the competition, Dylan already had a feeling that something good was going to happen. While warming up for his first event, the long jump, he could feel the good vibes of the day, but he never imagined what that feeling could mean. There he was, rocking back and forth on his feet, readying his leg muscles for the charge. Locking eyes on the sand pit ahead of him, he burst into motion, quickly gaining acceleration. He placed his foot firmly on the take-off board and sailed through the air, sand exploding from the pit as he landed. He stood up, examined the indentation in the sand, and soon realized that things weren’t going as well as he had hoped. “It was starting to get to my head,” he says. “Long jump didn’t go well, so [I thought] maybe pole vault won’t be good either.”
The only thing Webster needed was a little motivation to make him believe that he was capable of making it. As Dylan prepared for pole vault, one of his buddies walked up to him and made a wager. “He told me, ‘I’ll give you twenty bucks if you break the record again,’ and I was like, ‘Ok, I’ll take your bet.’” With renewed vigor, Webster lined up to the runway, his pole at the ready, and he raced forward, channeling all of the practice and knowledge that he’s gained over the many years into this very moment. The pole bends, and he lifted himself, gaining just the right amount of momentum as he angles his body and soars over the crossbar, clearing it perfectly before plummeting to the cushiony landing mat on the other side.
Paying Tribute to Those Who Paved the Road
Although Dylan never received the twenty bucks, for him, the ideal of being able to believe in himself and show not only his friends but his family what he could do was all the motivation he needed to succeed in the first place.
And those who motivated him? Well, besides his family and friends, the people who have made him really grow in this sport are his coaches. One of the people he looks up to the most is Andy Norin, his high school coach who also attended Greenville and competed in the same sport that Dylan competes in today. He also mentioned his coach from last year, Coach Dayton, who helped him improve some of his kinks. Lastly, he credits some of his success to his current coach, Coach Duez, who is still training him and preparing him to continue on his path and face the challenges ahead. With the new pole-vault record set at fourteen feet, seven inches (14’7”), Dylan has his eyes set on ultimately conquering the intimidating fifteen-foot pole vault leap that all young pole vaulters hope to overcome as he falls into his final year at Greenville University this Fall.