Spearman looks to break program 60m dash record
As an old school with a very long history, it is very difficult for school records at Dartmouth to be challenged or even broken. However, Donovan Spearman ’21 is on the verge of doing just that. He is currently ranked second in Dartmouth’s history for the 60 meter dash and has plans to improve his position.
“The sooner I can break the record, the better,” Spearman said. “I would love to say that I’ll break it this year, but definitely by the end of my Dartmouth career — hopefully by the end of next year for sure. I definitely plan to and really want to break that record, and I also want to break the 200-meter record.”
Spearman’s confidence is well placed, as he is very experienced as a runner. He said that he started participating in track competitively at age 8, and that he began to win some big meets when he was younger, leading him to continue his career at the collegiate level at Dartmouth.
When asked why he started running track and field at such an early age, Spearman recounted a story from his childhood.
“My mom usually says that my family started realizing that I was really fast when I was like 5,” he said. “My mom used to take me to the park and she used to run with me. And I was always beating her by a lot. My mom was pretty athletic and fit, so being that young and running pretty fast — my family said that that’s when they realized that I was pretty talented.”
Spearman said that at Dartmouth, the coaching staff and leaders on the team are helping to draw out and maximize the talent that he possesses.
“Many of the best experiences that I have had are making connections with the older people on the team,” he said. “They are all really helpful. When you’re younger coming onto the team, those are people who know the rules of the road and how things go around school, especially when it comes to track.”
As a sophomore, Spearman has found himself in a growing leadership position as well. While he focuses on personal improvement, it is clear that he strives to make the team around him better as well. His head coach, Barry Harwick, said that Spearman has gotten the hang of things at Dartmouth and has a bright future.
“I’m looking forward to watching him grow as an athlete and as a student,” Harwick said.
Teammate Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20 said that Spearman is both a talented athlete and a strong presence on the team.
“He’s a blast to watch and to practice alongside,” Rothwell said. “He’s super talented and he adds positivity to the team. He’s always making jokes at practice and cheering on his teammates — he adds a certain spirit to practice.”
Track is not the only issue of importance for Spearman. As a student at an academically rigorous institution like Dartmouth, he has to maintain a balance between his academics and being a collegiate athlete. Spearman currently plans to major in environmental studies and minor in sociology with a focus on global health. While he acknowledges that maintaining a balance is difficult, he said that having success both in the classroom and on the field basically comes down to time management.
“It helped that I’ve been doing track since I was 8,” he said. “So basically, for all my life, I have had this balance between sports and academics and having a personal life. So my history with the sport and academics has definitely helped me a lot.”
Fortunately, Spearman appears to be managing his time well between events as well. The 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash require different skillsets, although there is some overlap. Spearman explains why that difference, along with differences in the track itself, makes running more difficult.
“The 200-meter indoor track is a lot different than the 200-meter outdoor track,” he said. “Coming from California, I had never run indoor before I came here, so that was a big adjustment for me. I had some injuries last year that I needed to work through because of that adjustment.”
Spearman has since recovered from those injuries and posted some remarkable times. In the 200m at the New England Championships, he posted a time of 21.76 seconds, which placed him second in that event. At the Dartmouth Relays meet in January, he won first place in the 60m with a time of 6.84, and then five days later took first in the 60m and 200m against Yale University and Columbia University. Later this month, Spearman will represent Dartmouth in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
The future holds many opportunities for Spearman as a student and a runner, even beyond Dartmouth. Like many college students, he said he still hasn’t made up his mind about future plans.
“I’m still thinking about what my plans are when it comes to after college,” Spearman said. “I am definitely planning to stay athletic and fit and working out and definitely running. Will I be doing competitions after college? I’m still thinking about that. I’ll have to see. It depends first of all how much my times keep dropping and also how much more my body can take of track. But I would definitely love to continue competing in track and field.”