Track and Field

Gueye steps into void left by star graduate Eaton

In his three years as a hurdler for the Syracuse track and field team, Jarret Eaton enjoyed unprecedented success.

In the spring, he became Syracuse’s first track and field national champion, winning first place in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

As a perfect ending to a near-perfect collegiate career, Eaton was awarded Male Athlete of the Year, Male Performance of the Year and Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors at the 2012 ‘Cuse Awards. He also ran in the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer, though he did not qualify.

But Eaton no longer runs for Syracuse, and thus a large void in hurdles has to be filled. And After training with him for three seasons and gaining a full understanding of where success comes from, senior hurdler Amadou Gueye is ready to do just that.

“Jarret is one of the biggest reasons I came here,” Gueye said. “He redshirted and was here the last few years and training with him every day was a blessing. I’ve been waiting for a while to step in and now it’s time to just show up.”

Although Gueye has spent a majority of his collegiate career as a complement to Eaton’s heroism, his accomplishments to date are nothing to scoff at. As a sophomore, he finished second in the 60-meter hurdles at the Big East championship with a time of 7.95 seconds, and was named to the Big East indoor track team.

“Amadou is a really talented guy and he has been very good for us since he was a freshman,” SU assistant coach Dave Hegland said. “I know he has really big aspirations and I think he can do a lot this year. How much remains to be seen.”

Gueye believes Hegland is the best there is, and credits much of his success to the coach. As an assistant to head coach Chris Fox, Hegland works directly with the team’s sprinters and has a front-row seat to Gueye’s development as a hurdler.

But it’s not just Gueye’s determination or his training with Eaton and Hegland that has him running at such a high level. Growing up with four brothers Gueye recalls a constant fight for the spotlight growing up. His brother Jibi, who also hurdled, was the reason he started hurdling in middle school. His brother’s high school success drives him to this day.

“He was very, very good, so when the coach asked who wanted to be a hurdler I immediately raised my hand and the rest is history,” Gueye said. “He set the bar very high and I just always wanted to be better than him. We argue to this day about who is better.”

Gueye’s thirst for improvement has made him an athlete that refuses to regress. Eaton, who has watched Gueye as much as Gueye has watched him, is particularly impressed with the senior’s drive and unrelenting work ethic.

“The sky is the limit for Amadou,” Eaton said. “He is a leader that leads by example and not just by what he says. “Just based off the hard work he has done in the off-season, I think he’s one of the best in the nation. I am proud of him.”

When asked about replacing Eaton and the possibility of capturing similar success, Gueye said that isn’t exactly his personal goal for senior year.

“Jarret had a tremendous season and it would be amazing to have a season like he had,” Gueye said. “But I’m not Jarret, there’s one Jarret. I’m Amadou, and if I can be the best Amadou I can be, I’ll be happy.”

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