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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Western track star Alex Donigian shattering records

// Photo by Jake Tull
Alex Donigian practices sprints during track practice on Friday, April 10, at the Wade King Student Recreation Center Turf Field. // Photo by Jake Tull

Western’s star sprinter Alex Donigian has been making waves and breaking records in 2015 with dominating performances across the board.

“I’ve broken my [personal record] in every event this year,” Donigian said, beaming.

But personal records are not all Donigian has conquered. He set the 60-meter sprint record for both Western and Great Northwest Athletic Conference history with a time of 6.72 seconds on Saturday, March 14.

Donigian placed second in the 60 meter at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships. His time was separated from the winner by only .001 seconds.

Donigian’s 200 meter time of 21.42 good for second all-time in the GNAC. It broke a school record held by Marc Hill. His record was a hand-held time of 21.4 in 1994.

But Donigian’s real pride is in his success at the 100-meter sprint.

“I’ve crushed it in the 100 [meter], which is my main focus,” Donigian said.

He wasn’t lying, again breaking both Western and GNAC records with a time of 10.27 seconds. He broke his own record by 1.9 seconds and the former conference record by 1.1 seconds, previously held by Rimar Christie of Northwest Nazarene University.

“I’ve definitely clicked in with my relationship with running,” Donigian said. “I think that’s resulted in just being able to bring out the best when competition times come.”

Donigian used to focus on the 60 meter. He has since focused on the longer events of the 100 and 200 meter, Donigian said.

“It’s the standard by which people measure your speed,” Donigian said. “No one knows the 60-meter world champion; they know the 100-meter world champion.”

Western track and field head coach Pee Wee Halsell has been coaching Donigian for three years. One of the things Halsell finds impressive about Donigian is not only his commitment to running, but also his commitment to school.

“He’s balancing [athletics] with school, and that’s important to me,” Halsell said.

Maintaining that balance is a challenge for many student athletes. Donigian himself had to change majors away from chemistry, one of his favorite subjects, to anthropology of sports and kinesiology because he felt running would get in the way.

“I had to switch my major from chemistry, which is really heartbreaking because I was very passionate about that subject,” Donigian said.

When Donigian began studies in anthropology, he had an idea for an ethnographic field trip as part of a study he was conducting on panhandling. Essentially, he would have been homeless for a few days.

“I wanted to experience that for myself, and I couldn’t do that because I need to take care of my body,” Donigian said.

Donigian takes 18 credits every quarter, which can be a challenge for any student.

“It’s cool to see him striving to get those good grades,” Halsell said. “But I think that’s the thing, the balance and shooting for two totally different goals.”

Donigian’s goals for next year include USA Track & Field IAAF World Indoor Championship and the USATF Olympic Trials.

“Right now, my goal is to get there,” Donigian said. “The indoor one is very realistic. The Olympic trials is not lofty, but I’m going to have to reach a bit more to get there.”

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