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Q&A: An insight into standout Vikings track athlete Kevin McDermott

The junior is coming off a record-breaking season for Western along with GNAC Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year

Kevin McDermott laughs after a run at the GNAC Division II tournament in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 19, 2024. McDermott smiles after another win. // Photo Courtesy of WWU Athletics

Kevin McDermott has been a member of Western Washington University’s track and field and cross country team since 2020. This track season, McDermott has had a record breaking year. He finished with a trifecta – three gold medals – at the GNAC Division II Tournament, claiming the 3000m, 5000m and mile. McDermott is just the third man to complete a trifecta in GNAC history.

With dedication and record breaking performances, and a resounding testament to his work on the track and field, Kevin McDermott has been crowned the GNAC Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

McDermott has broken three records for the Vikings this season, and is looking to continue his commanding season after receiving an invite to the NCAA Division II National Championship from March 8 to 9, 2024. 

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Kevin McDermott takes home first place at the GNAC Division II tournament in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 19, 2024. McDermott added to his impressive season with another victory. // Photo Courtesy of WWU Athletics.

Q: Coming off a record-breaking season, what are your goals headed into your senior year? 

A: Next year, boy… My big emphasis is on cross country. I've always been able to perform a little bit better on the track than I have on the course and I really want next year to be my last year. So, I want to be able to come into my senior year cross country and be able to put up a better performance at the national meet than I have in the past. I think I'm in a good position where I should be able to be an All-American on the cross country course and on the track. So, those are two goals that I have going into next year.

Q: You broke a few records this year, including the mile, 3000m and 5000m.What did that mean to you and what was going on in your head? 

A: It's really cool. I mean, it's an incredible experience to be able to come here – I spent all five years of my career at Western. So coming in as a high schooler, I looked up these records and I was like, “Oh my God, these are so fast.” You know the dudes that held them before me were very, very talented athletes. So to be able to be in that position where I'm now breaking those records is really special. I just want to leave my mark on the program. Breaking those records is part of that. 

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Kevin McDermott points up, signaling another first place at the GNAC Division II tournament in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 19 2024. McDermott continues his breakout season with another first place. // Photo Courtesy of WWU Athletics

Q: Do you have a favorite event to compete in? 

A: The 3000[m], it's so fun. The 5K is probably my best event. But the 3K's like, it's a perfect mix of speed and strength. But I really just enjoy racing.

Q: You're headed to the 2024 NCAA Division II National Championships for the 5000m and 3000m, how does that feel? What are you looking forward to? 

A: The goal is to be an All-American, same as everybody else. I mean, nobody comes here to get like 10th place. Top eight are All-Americans, so that's what everybody's looking for. This was my first track nationals. So to be able to have the opportunity to come in here and compete against the best guys in the country at the Division II level is really exciting. I'm looking forward to that – just to get this experience. I'm not coming in just happy to be here. I want to compete but hopefully I'll have several more track national meets after this. To come in here and learn how it's done at the national stages is something I look forward to. 

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Kevin McDermott celebrates while finishing his race at the GNAC Division II tournament in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 19 2024. McDermott’s excitement was put on full display after another victory. // Photo Courtesy of WWU Athletics

Q: What is the best thing about being a part of the WWU track team? 

A: Just the support that we show for each other every day. I live with a lot of my teammates. It's such a cliché saying it's like a family, but it really is – we work out together every day, we live together, we fight all the time but it's all good. We're like brothers. It's really cool to be able to come here, break records and win big races. That's all awesome, but I think in 10 years down the road when I'm looking back, it's the experience and gonna be about the connections that I found with my teammates. 

Q: Do you plan on continuing your track career post-university? 

A: Yeah, I think so. I want to run at Olympic Trials, either on the track or for the marathon. That's a big goal of mine. I've talked with T.J. [Garlatz], my coach, and I think we're gonna keep working together post-college, but I really enjoyed this experience. I know that I'll have more. I'll be what, probably 24 years old, I'll still have at least at least five to 10 more years of running competitively, at least in the legs. Whether I do it for that long, I'm not sure. But I'd love to continue this experience post-college. 

Diego Corona

Diego Corona is a sports reporter for The Front this quarter. This is his first quarter at Western and he’s excited to get know the campus. He is a PR major. In Diego’s free time, he likes to watch soccer, play video games, and cook. You can reach him at

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