Dorchester multi events athlete medals at NCAA SoCon championship meets
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER - Megan Dunn had more than a silver lining type of season.
Following a freshman year plagued with injury, Dunn, a heptathlete with the Wofford College Terriers, a NCAA Division One school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, showed her potential in year two, bringing home a trio of silver medals from Southern Conference (SoCon) track and field championship meets.
Dunn captured silver for women's heptathlon, setting a personal best score of 4798 points, at the Southern Conference outdoor championships, this past April in Samford, Alabama.
In the heptathlon, Dunn won both the javelin throw (36.82 metres) and the 800-metre run (2:26.49) and finished second in the 200-metre dash (25.31 seconds).
Wofford teammate senior Amber Lust won the heptathlon with 5005 points, a PB of her own.
Dunn also took the silver medal in open women's javelin, at conference, setting a Wofford school record of 39.04 metres. Her best throw was only 45 centimetres behind the winning distance. A late gust of wind may have prevented Dunn the gold medal.
In February, Dunn was the silver medalist in the pentathlon at the Southern Conference Indoor championships, in February.
"All three I'm really proud of. I got zero (medals) last year and three this year," said the Dorchester native. "Much better than the first year. My first year was definitely a transition year because it's a big change."
Throughout year one Dunn battled shin splints, but a new type of therapy helped her in year two.
"I credit a lot of it to the underwater treadmill that my school got. Last year I was out two and half months because of my shins," said Dunn. "This year, two or three workouts a week were on the underwater treadmill. It's really cool. The whole floor moves and the jets make it harder. That saved me a lot this year."
This summer Dunn is training with the London-Western club at Western University, while monitoring the condition of her shins.
"It's hard for me to get a lot of event work training in," Dunn explains. "Long jump, for example, everybody does the full warm-up and I usually skip those and just focus on the full jumping. It's not the best way to improve but it's the only way I can do it and get through practice (without pain). I did get a lot more practice than last year, but I still have a lot more improvement, especially for long jump and high jump."
Her mental composure during competition is also stronger.
"This improved too," said Dunn, pointing to her head. "I'm definitely more confident this year and focusing on myself and not worry about others.
"I usually had a cry after having a bad event, but it kind of messes me up for the rest of the (heptathlon). I've really focused on, get through the event and move on, no matter how it is."
The Wofford track and field coaches had all athletes use a type of mental imagery at practice.
"We all lie down on the ground and focus on the next event, like shot put. So we would imagine throwing shot, to regroup your mind. I did that at meets as well. It helps a lot," Dunn says. "You don't have much time to regroup in multi-events, so you have to focus on getting your mind switched over to the next event."
As Dunn heads into her junior year and with Lust graduating, she will be Wofford's most senior multi event athlete.
"I looked up to her and could confide in her," said Dunn, who will now be the mentor to a freshman and sophomore.
The 20-year old is also aiming for 5000 points, 202 more than her PB.
"My goal is not to bring an injury into year three," said Dunn. "I'll really focus on the events that need more work to improve my score. My goal to get over 5000, because I feel that's totally reachable. I think 200 points is easy for me to do. I have so much room for improvement, definitely in long jump and high jump. Those are my two most inconsistent. High jump you can get a lot of points (for small centimetre increases). I'm good at double faulting (in long jump) and that's not a good skill to have."
Dunn picked up additional medals at non-championship meets this past season, including silver in the heptathlon at the Adidas Winthrop University Invitational and bronze in the pentathlon, at the Carolina Challenge, in February. Dunn also won a bronze medal in javelin at the UNF Invitational.
Dunn, who is studying biology with plans of a career in optometry, is satisfied she chose Wofford after graduating from Lord Dorchester Secondary school.
"I stuck with a small school because I was used to Dorchester. I can walk across campus in eight minutes and teachers know your names. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," said Dunn. "I love how the class system works, only 50 minute classes. It's a lot of juggling, but I'm proud to say that I've not had to stay up late. I also don't tend to procrastinate. You have to organize your time."
Megan is the daughter of David and Kendra Dunn, of Dorchester. While at LDSS, Megan was part of the open girls' 4x400-metre relay team that won gold-silver-gold over three consecutive years, at the OFSAA track and field championships.