The Lakers have been looking sharp three weeks into the cross country season. Much of this is due to the talent and leadership of senior captain Dylan Hardwick. The Lakers may run as a team, but Hardwick enjoys the individual aspect of the sport.
“I like the individuality involved in running,” he said. “Being able to rely on only myself to achieve my goals is great.”
Despite this, becoming a captain this year has put him in a difficult position that he has grown accustomed to.
“It’s definitely a lot more busy work, and I have to be a lot more concerned with the rest of the team during practice than I used to be,” Hardwick said. “Being a captain helps me with my own running because I feel like a role model for the rest of the team. If I run hard, the rest of the team will follow. I need to set a good example for everyone else.”
Hardwick also runs extra miles outside of practice in his spare time to keep fresh.
Hardwick has been setting a great example for the rest of his team during the first three weeks of the season, and his teammates have delivered, finishing second, third and fourth as a team in the past three events.
In those events, Hardwick finished the race in eighth, fourth and sixth against over 100 other runners. His best time came at the Houghton Invitational, where he finished the 8k run in 26 minutes and 15 seconds. He also posted a strong time in the 6k run at the Oneonta Invitational, finishing in 20 minutes and eight seconds.
Hardwick predicted the Lakers would have a fairly successful year before the season started, and he thinks the team will improve as the season goes on.
“We are performing right where I expected us to perform when the season started,” he said. “We lost a great runner last year in Samson Dikeman, but overall we have gotten a lot deeper and have a lot of good up and comers. I expect to see us improve as the season goes on. Our practices this year have been a lot more intense, and I think that can lead to overall improvement. Especially as the season goes on and everyone gets used to it.”
Hardwick didn’t always run for Oswego State. He started his college career at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, and ran for the school’s track and cross country team for two years before coming to Oswego State. After one impressive year with the Lakers, he showed the coaches he was captain material, and he has not disappointed.
“My best moment here at Oswego had to be breaking the schools 4×8 record last year,” he said. “The old record was eight minutes and three seconds, and we had to have broken that by a solid five seconds.
Hardwick wants to stay involved with running after college, but he would like to keep running at the collegiate level for as long as possible.
“I’m applying to grad school at the University of Southern Maine after I graduate from Oswego,” he said. “I would love to keep doing these kinds of things after I’m done with college entirely. I would love to be a track coach for a high school, or even a college if I get the opportunity.”
Hardwick did not start running until his sophomore year of high school, when his dad convinced him to run cross country. He used to play soccer, but when he made it to states in cross country during his senior year he knew running was what he wanted to do.
Hardwick is a hard working runner that gets the most out of his teammates in every practice and every race. The cross country team can look forward to plenty of success behind his leadership. The team’s next race is at the St. Lawrence Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 8, where the Lakers look to build off of a strong start to the season.