Track and Field

Sprinter Holland looks to fill in for injured mentor at Penn State

Darryl White and Jaquan Holland are only separated by their age.

White is a graduate student while Holland is a junior, but they both run the 60-meter dash. The two runners became friends when Holland joined the team last year and quickly developed a friendship.

“I joke with him and call him ‘old man’ because he’s been around for awhile,” Holland said.

White has competed in the 60-meter dash at various levels for the last 11 years. In high school, he finished fourth at the Nike All-American, and in a different race ran a 6.75, the seventh-fastest time in the country in 2008. Now in his fifth season at Syracuse, White is trying to teach Holland how he’s been able to compete so well for so long. White isn’t able to compete in this weekend’s Penn State National Open because of a knee injury, but Holland will be using his teammate’s advice throughout the race.

Holland admittedly struggles with his confidence in the 60-meter race. He views himself more as a 200-meter runner. He said his body structure isn’t necessarily built for the 60.

During the race, Holland breaks up the 60 meters into two parts. The first is the drive phase – the first 10-15 meters of the race and the one he struggles with. Next is the remaining 45 meters, an all-out sprint.

Once he gets past the drive phase, Holland knows he can compete with anyone, but it is possessing the initial confidence that’s the problem.

“In practice it’s easy,” Holland said. “I’m comfortable, I’m relaxed, I do everything right. When I get in a race, something as short as the 60, I don’t go through my transitions as well.”

In last season’s Penn State National Open, the two teammates both ran a 6.88 in the preliminaries before White edged out Holland in the semi-finals to claim 11th place.

While Holland refers to it as “friendly competition,” he looks up to White when it comes to the 60-meter.

“Darryl knows a lot and I feel I am still a rookie at this with a lot to learn,” Holland said. “Whatever information he or coach Hegland can give me, I take it. I’m like a sponge.”

Assistant coach Dave Hegland first put Holland in the race to help him train for the outdoor 200-meter, his favorite event, or as he calls it, “his love.” The race is a little longer than the 60 and shows off his natural talents, Hegland said.

“The better his 60 gets, the better his 200 will become,” Hegland said. “It’s definitely a secondary event, but an event I think he can be good at.”

With the Penn State National Open this weekend, Holland knows he can post a good time if he gets in the right mindset early and treats the race as a fun secondary event.

With White possibly missing the rest of the season with his injury, he is confident Holland can win the 60-meter this weekend and lead the team at the meet.

“I just try to build his confidence and he’s real receptive to what I have to say,” White said. “And I always remind him, don’t let the ‘old’ guy beat you.”

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