Over the first weekend in April at the San Francisco Distance Carnival, Will Brewster ’17 broke the school record in the 5000m, posting a speedy time of 14:07. Brewster, a transfer student from the University of
Illinois, has enjoyed great success in his first season running at Davidson. This week I was able to catch up with Will in between his busy training schedule to talk about his training, goals, and experiences as a runner.
Brewster has seen a big change in his running from the beginning of the Cross Country season into the track season. He began to see real improvement towards the end of cross country season. “Cross Country started off pretty slow,” he said. “I finally had a good performance at conference where I was able to do well in the five mile and earn all conference.” Brewster credits his steady improvement to his training and teammates. “I’ve been able to improve because of great training partners. Iron sharpens iron,” Brewster remarked.
“I’ve been doing more mileage at Davidson than at the University of Illinois,” Brewster continued. “The workouts at Illinois were shorter and closer to race pace. The workouts here make me feel fresh on race day whereas at Illinois I felt burnt out.” Brewster’s training schedule will have him running 100 miles per week up until it is time for conference, when he will drop to 70-80 miles per week. “I’m just going to keep trusting my coach. He’s worked with some really great athletes in the past,” Will added.
Brewster has not only proven himself as a runner in his training, but in a few major races this season. He was the 5,000-meter champion at the A-10 indoor championship where he edged out a runner from St. Louis by hundredths of a second at the finish line. He explained how past championship races in high school pushed him down the stretch at conference: “In high school I finished second in the state meet in the one mile and the two mile by less than a second. When I hit the last lap I dug really deep because I didn’t want this to happen again.” Brewster ran a 4:23 mile to complete his 5,000-meters, closing the final two laps in sixty seconds each.
Coming into outdoor track season, Brewster knew that he would have a real shot at breaking the school record in the outdoor 5,000. “I was a bit off pace through the first two miles,” Brewster said about his race in San Francisco. “The first mile I split a 4:28 and the second mile I split a 4:34. I wasn’t able to break fourteen minutes on the race but still ran an NCAA qualifier time and got the school record.” Brewster still thinks that he can run under 14:00 this season and break his own school record again. Even though Brewster didn’t quite hit the time he was looking for, a school record and a fifth place finish in a field of over two hundred runners was still quite a performance.
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Brewster is optimistic about the team’s odds at doing well in the running events at Conference. “As a team we’ll have a chance to finish in the top 4,” he said. “Our guys will finish pretty high individually. Patrick Rollo ’16 will have a good chance to win the 800 meters and I’m aiming to win both the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters,” Will remarked. “We still can’t quite compete as a team because we don’t have a full sprint and field team yet,” Brewster added. Without a full roster, a fourth place finish would be a great showing for the men’s team at the conference championship next month.
Even though all the 100 mile weeks and 18-mile training runs have been difficult and unpleasant for Brewster at times, he still finds that he loves to compete as a runner. “Sometimes it’s hard but it definitely pays off when you have special moments in the big races. I’ve been playing sports my whole life and know that if I want to win I have to train,” Will stated. This competitive spirit has helped push Brewster through.
Brewster definitely has his eyes set on a few big milestones that he wants to accomplish before he finishes his time here at Davidson on the track and in Cross Country. “The Men’s Cross Country team has never won a conference championship in either the Southern Conference or the Atlantic 10,” Brewster said. “It would be great to to win a championship before graduating.”
Brewster also hopes that he can work to set more school records and win conference championships in track as well. His biggest goal however is to become an All-American, which means a top 16 finish nationally. He hopes that he can achieve this in the next two years through qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Oregon. But first, Atlantic 10 Championships await.