Illustration by Noah Manskar
NCAA All-American honors are rare at any division level and in any sport. Two Bishops, senior Cara DeAngelis and junior Matt Hunter achieved these honors at the NCAA D-III indoor track and field championships on March 14 and 15 at Nebraska Wesleyan University. DeAngelis came in second place in the 3000-meter run with a time of 9:39.17 which broke the school record she recently set. Hunter came in sixth place in the heptathlon, scoring a combined 5028 points in the seven events. Here are some of their thoughts on the honor, their goals and the rest of the season.
The Transcript: What does it mean to you to be representing Ohio Wesleyan as an All-American athlete?
Cara DeAngelis: It means a lot to represent OWU as an All-American athlete. We are more of an outdoor-based program and so typically we do not have a lot of athletes to represent OWU at the indoor national meet. It was an honor to be able to do so.
In addition, OWU has never had someone on the women’s team place as high as second place at an indoor national meet, which makes it even more special to be the first to do so (at least I think that’s the case).
Plus, this was the first year they ran the 3k (3,000-meter race) at the national meet. When I left nationals, I wanted people from other schools to know Ohio Wesleyan’s name.
T: What goals did you set on the way to this honor? Was being an All-American one of those goals?
Matt Hunter: When I came to OWU as a freshman, I set a goal to be an All-American. I had other goals along the way, but I was always focused on this one goal. And it feels great after working for two and a half years towards one goal to finally achieve it.
T: How have Head Coach Kris Boey and the OWU track staff helped you develop?
CD: All the coaches have helped me a lot, but Matt Wackerly is my main coach. He plans all of my workouts and modifies them when I need to change things up. I trust him completely to help me achieve my goals.
Honestly though, it’s not just the coaches that have helped me develop. My parents have played a huge part as to who I am as a runner today. The Tom (Josefowicz), the trainer, and Dr. (Jason) Diehl here helped keep me in one piece during cross-country and continue to help me do so.
My boyfriend, Nathan Kafity, has helped me immensely with staying positive. As a distance runner, the race is pretty much 80 percent mental, and so even though I have a coach to get me physically fit, none of that matters much if I am not there mentally, so he has helped me a ton.
My teammates also have been very supportive of my goals and we help each other stay motivated and get through the rough days.
T: How do you plan on transitioning successfully to outdoor season?
MH: The transition to the outdoor season has already begun. Indoor nationals was over on Saturday, and on Sunday I started to get my body ready for the decathlon. The key for me is to be consistent with my training, and to be patient as we move towards the outdoor national meet.
How much more competitive is the National Championship meet than, say, the NCAC Championship meet?
CD: Exponentially more competitive. Nationals is Conference on steroids — a lot of steroids. The national level is the best athletes from (Division) III from all over the country, whereas conference was just from a small selection of schools belonging to the NCAC.
T: Were you expecting to have the best 60-meter time at the NCAA championships?
MH: The Monday before the meet I pulled my groin, and wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to compete. The whole week all I did was rehab and didn’t even try to run until the day before. I knew that if I had been totally healthy then I was undoubtedly the fastest in the field, but to be honest I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to finish the race. With all that stress, finishing in first place—and with a new personal record—was a huge thrill.
I bet most of my teammates could guess that over the last two and a half years my goal was to be an All-American, and I bet that most of them could guess what my goal is going forward. That being said, I am a firm believer that you should have big goals, and keep them to yourself. If you want to know, you’re just going to have to wait and see what I do!
T: Being a senior, how happy are you to have had such a great final indoor season?
CD: I’m not happy. Just kidding. Of course I’m happy! Indoor Nationals was really just a bonus I wasn’t expecting to get since we focus on outdoor track. My training for indoor is not nearly as tough as what I will be doing for outdoor training. The focus now is staying healthy for outdoor nationals, especially since we are hosting it. I want nothing more than to be able to represent OWU on my own track.
See the full story on the OWU track and field team’s indoor NCAA Championship performance on Page 8.