Joseph Sykes | Asst. Sports Editor
If you get the chance to ask men’s track and field star Ian Welch how his season is fairing this year, he’d humbly state that he’s doing well, which is the definition of an understatement.
Welch, a senior journalism major, represents the Red & Blue in the triple and long jump competitions and is excelling in his final season as a Duke. In fact, the Pittsburgh native has already broken two university records, and the season isn’t even halfway through.
Welch’s first record came during the season opener on March 22 at the Wake Forest Open, where he tallied a triple jump score of 48 feet, 2.75 inches. Just a few weeks later he broke the long jump record at the Colonial Relays in Virginia, where he recorded a distance of 24 feet, 2.5 inches.
Though Welch was stunned to have been able to capture those milestones, he knows he has to attribute his success to being in tip-top shape this season.
“This is the best shape I’ve been in my life,” Welch said. “It feels great. It’s a little bit surreal and honestly I know I could jump further, but the fact that I did it in the first place is kind of like a dream come true.”
Assistant coach Tom Slosky has been working to advance Welch’s progress over the past few years. It’s Welch’s speed that has been a key factor in him obtaining longer jump records.
“[Welch] has been working on his speed this year,” Slosky said. “You can definitely see that translates well when he competes. He’s found a good groove while matching his speed with his technique.”
Breaking records isn’t the only thing to measure Welch’s success by. Amid each competition he partakes in, he consistently places near the front of the pack day in and day out, proven by the fact that he has has taken second, third and fourth place in fields of 12 to 30 participants.
He also isn’t limited to just the jumps competitions either. Alongside teammates Joe Borsuk, Mike Bryk and Shakeil Carter, Welch took fifth in the 4×100 meter relay on April 12 at Bucknell’s Bison Outdoor Classic.
Welch has also made a home atop the Atlantic-10 rankings, where he ranks first in the long jump and second in the triple jump according to DirectAthletes.com. He also ranks 46 in the nation in long jump.
It was Welch’s goal all along to get noticed, and to say you’re nationally ranked is a good way of showing yourself off.
“Being a collegiate athlete, your goal is to try to make a name for yourself,” he said.
Anna Simone, who competes in hurdles for the women’s track and field team, can’t say enough good things about her fellow senior.
“Ian is very determined,” Simone said. “He really gains the attention of not just the spectators, but of the other athletes. He really controls the runway and is always striving for records. He’s a consistent jumper and he’s starting to understand he has a lot of potential.”
In terms of team play, Welch is confident the guys around him will make serious strides as they head into conference play.
“We’re hitting every point right now,” Welch said. “So by the time we get to conference, I think we’re going to be working for something really special. We have some history to make.”