The Dorchester native won her first NCAA competition of the year
with goals to win conference and to have an outdoor season
Monday, February 22nd, 2021
By Rob J. Ross
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - It may have been almost a year since her last competition, but Megan Dunn has not lost a step.
The multi events athlete from Dorchester won the women's pentathlon, breaking her own Wofford University school record in the process, at the Bob Pollock Invitational indoor track and field meet at Clemson University, on January 29th.
Prior to the Wofford Terriers' opening meet on January 23rd, the last time Dunn competed was the NCAA Southern Conference (SOCON) indoor championships, February 29th, 2020, when she was winning pentathlon gold.
Two weeks later, the entire outdoor season was cancelled and athletes sent home, due to the early stages of the pandemic.
"It felt good to win. I was not expecting to do well so early in the season," said Dunn, now a senior at the South Carolina school. "I had a PB (personal best) in high jump and some multi PBs in long jump and shot put. I think I did well because I was very relaxed throughout the meet. I kept telling my self to have fun and relax."
That performance earned Dunn the Southern Conference women's field athlete of the month award for January. It is Dunn's first athlete of the month honour and just the second for a Wofford women's field athlete in school history (Georgia McDevitt, Jan. 2020). Dunn has been athlete of the week twice in her collegiate career.
"That feels amazing," said Dunn. "I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to demonstrate my commitment to the school and to the sport I love."
During her school record performance and personal best score of 3,603 points, Dunn finished in the top three for all five events, winning the 800-meter run in 2:27.31, finishing second in shot put (10.46m) and high jump (1.60m), and third in long jump (5.43m) and the 60-meter hurdles (9.05 sec.).
Dunn's pentathlon total leads the SoCon this season and ranks 30th on the NCAA Division One Indoor Qualifying List.
A week earlier at the VMI Team Challenge in Lexington, Virginia, Dunn finished fourth in the open women's 200-meter run (9.09 seconds) and eighth in the open 60-metre hurdles.
"Definitely gives me confidence," said Dunn, a graduate of Lord Dorchester Secondary. "I am really looking forward to conference and seeing what I can do. I would like to beat my PB from last time. I would be extremely happy with 3600 (points) again or more."
The 2021 SOCON conference indoor championships are February 27-28th, in Lexington, Virginia. A year ago at the meet, Dunn won the pentathlon as a junior amassing 3,552 points, despite dealing with injuries to her shins and tailbone.
One of main competitors will be Wofford teammate Netanya Linares, who finished second at Clemson, 150 points behind Dunn.
Unlike school sports in Canada, the NCAA is running their leagues, although with slimmed down schedules, no road meets and many health requirements because of the pandemic.
"There are many differences, but we have been able to have a great season," Dunn said. "My team gets tested every week, we wear masks at practice and clean equipment between teammates. We have to wear N95 masks when we are on the bus."
Students are also to limit interaction outside of campus.
"We have been asked not to do too much in public," added Dunn.
Not a problem for the biology major who is too busy splitting her time between training and class.
For this upcoming September, Dunn has been accepted in to the accelerated scholars program at the Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry, in Philadelphia.
The 2021 NCAA outdoor track and field season (March to May) is scheduled to go. Outside, Dunn competes in the heptathlon (100m hurdles, 200m run, 800m run, high jump, javelin, shot put, long jump) and won the silver medal two years ago.
After arriving back in Dorchester following last year's cancellation, Dunn practiced in her family's backyard, out on the street and eventually the track at Lord Dorchester.
"It was hard to hear that our
outdoor season was cut short. I remember our coaches sitting us down. The
seniors were all crying, as their careers were cut short," recalled Dunn, a junior
at the time. "This is my last year, so I'll give it my all and try to stay
healthy for the whole season."
© 2021 Hometownplay.ca
© 2021 Hometownplay.ca