Nolan uses pace to win national title
For senior sprinter Errol Nolan, winning a national title in the 400-meter race was as simple as running his race.
Nolan speeds the race up in the first 60 meters and throws off the pace of the other competitors. He said only two runners, including him, of the 400-meter qualifiers for the final have run 60 meters in 6.6 seconds, giving him an advantage if he has a great start. He claimed gold by running the 400-meter in 45.75 seconds.
“I get out faster than everyone else. Then they have to chase me to the break,” Nolan said. “Once they chase me to the break, they’re running (the 200-meter) in the low 21 (seconds), which they’re not used to.”
Nolan, freshman sprinter Leshon Collins and the men’s 4×400 relay team were awarded All-American honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for their performances at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Before the 400-meter final began, Nolan did not get the positioning he wanted. He was placed in an outside lane, which hurts a sprinter’s vision. Nolan said he cannot pick up the pace of all of the sprinters in his peripheral vision. From an inside lane, a sprinter can pace himself based on the the race’s leaders and adjust to their speed, Nolan said.
“I came here to be the national champion. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task because I had the outside lane. No matter how fast I got out, they were going to catch me at the break.”
Head coach Leroy Burrell said Nolan decided he was not going to take his senior season for granted.
“I think that he just resolved himself that he was going to make the most of every opportunity, and he did that starting during the summer,” Burrell said. “He made the Jamaican Olympic squad and then came back and got back to work … I can’t be more proud of him.”
But the biggest adversity that could have prevented Nolan from capturing a national title was himself. Nolan said he was not pushing himself as hard as he could before his senior season. Burrell said he expected Nolan to compete for national titles earlier in his career.
Now, he is fully committed.
Nolan said he spends at least an hour each day studying film — one of the favorite activities of his day. Though most track athletes study themselves, Nolan said he studies his competition, too.
Burrell said he is also a leader by example.
“I think his work ethic really stands out. He’s not the most vocal guy,” Burrell said. “He really leads more by example. I think everyone respects the kind of work that he does, how hard he goes about doing his thing and how much effort he puts in.”