Liam Tracey sets personal best, school record

Britney Dixon, Sports Manager

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The official reached out his hand towards the track like a parking barrier gate lifting for a car. Eight men took to their respective lanes and began their hype routines.

They drew a deep breath, took their marks, set for their starts, and bolted off the line.

“Coach Chick just keeps telling me to be calm. It’s all mental,” said Liam Tracey.

Coach “Chick” is Tracey’s sprinting coach, Renae “Chick” Cicchinelli.

Twenty-year-old Tracey from Greenwich, Connecticut is a junior at Roger Williams University and a sprinter and captain on the school’s men’s track and field team. On the team’s recent road trip to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tracey was most excited for the 100-meter dash. While he did post a season best time of 11.66 seconds, Tracey’s biggest accomplishment of the day was in his favorite race — the 200-meter dash — where he broke the school record and qualified for the N.C.A.A. Division III New England Championships with a time of 23 seconds flat.

Tracey was well-aware of what the school record had been since he has been on the hunt to break it since last season.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Tracey said. “I couldn’t even use blocks so I was freaking out, but .03 seconds isn’t really that much and I had barely any wind so I was able to go out there and do it.”

He was set back at the first meet of the season when freshman Noah Lautenschlager broke the record running 23.03 seconds in the sprint — .01 seconds faster than the previous record. Tracey will also be running the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays at New Englands this season.

Two years ago as a freshman, Tracey’s 200-meter time was not even close to what he is capable of today. Tracey says he was more of a 400-meter runner at the time.

“I’ve improved greatly and it’s mostly because of the people on the team,” Tracey said.

Coach Cicchinelli agreed.

“He started out not knowing a lot about track,” Cicchinelli said. “But now, you’d consider him the one to beat.”

Looking forward, Tracey feels extremely positive going into the last meet of the regular season, the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championships.

Last year, the men’s team took a fall to Nichols College with a final score of 259.5-240.5. Tracey’s times in the 100 and 200-meter dashes are significantly more competitive this year. He will compete in those events on Saturday, as well as, the 4×100, 4×400, long jump, and high jump.

“I think the competition within the team will actually help us out, because everyone will be pushing each other to do the best that they can which will give us the edge over Nichols,” Tracey said.

With a larger team than last year, each athlete has at least one teammate to compete against in each event which, according to Tracey, is very important.

The team breaks up into smaller groups for practice to continue to work together to better each other. Tracey’s group works on sprints that are slightly longer than their races so that the races feel shorter on meet day. According to Tracey, it gives them more stamina and makes them feel stronger, although they could spend more time lifting.

“Liam has proven himself as a sprinter, but he’s also proven himself across the boards,” Cicchinelli said. “He’s successful in many events and he’ll definitely be a target for competitors this weekend.”