Losses come in all shapes and sizes. They happen by margins small and large, against teams strong and weak, in games that are relatively meaningless and in those that determine the success of a season. For the men’s track team, this past weekend’s narrow defeat was very disheartening.
“We’re all so down about it,” said sophomore Andy Miller. “I’ve thought about it every hour.”
At this past weekend’s Indoor Heps championships, the Red came in second place, as its team total of 151 points was barely outdone by Princeton’s 154. With the Ivy League crown at stake, the Red fell short of defending their title by a razor-thin margin.
[img_assist|nid=21730|title=Push it real good|desc=The men’s track team runs in the Robert J. Kane Invitational on Feb. 10, posting 19 ECAC qualifiers.|link=none|align=left|width=83|height=100]
“We had good performances all around, but the three points … that’s just killer,” said freshman Owen Kimple. “I would rather get destroyed than lose by that small of a margin.”
The margin seems even smaller if one considers how close many of the events were.
“It’s just like you laid it all out there on the line the whole meet,” Kimple said. “Everyone is doing as much as they can. To come up short by that margin — it’s just a hundredth of a second here or a hundredth of a second there, a centimeter here or a centimeter there — to just barely miss it is tough.”
Miller knows firsthand just how close the team came to winning the competition. After winning the preliminary heat in the 1000-meter race, Miller finished the finals in 2:27.28, good enough for fourth place. Unfortunately, Miller finished just 0.14 seconds behind second place and four additional points.
“I’m already thinking about the upcoming season and what I’m going to do differently in terms of training and lifting,” he said. “I’m already looking forward to the next championships.”
Miller is not alone in using the close loss for motivation.
“It’s going to sting for a long time,” Kimple said. “When we’re out there in practice, it’s going to be easier to push ourselves knowing that Princeton is out there enjoying a win. We had a team meeting, and we just talked about the meet. We are just going to focus on what didn’t go right and how to fix those problems.”
“There are few things that motivate you as much as defeat,” said sophomore Brian Mongeon. “You get a little frustrated, and it makes your work even harder.”
When asked if the coaches had used the narrow defeat as a motivational tactic, Mongeon replied that “[the coaches] didn’t need to say anything. [Defeat] is a way to get motivated in and of itself.”
While the loss temporarily demoralized the team, the Red athletes plan to make the best of it and use the loss for motivation.
“From the look in everyone’s eyes in the team meeting, everyone is disheartened, and everyone is motivated to work even harder,” Miller said.
Kimple echoed his teammate’s thoughts.
“It will add some fuel to our fire for the future,” he said.