Athlete of the Week: Connor Del Carmen

In a recent interview with Earlham’s very own athlete of the week, Connor Del Carmen, we delved into his remarkable journey of triumphs and setbacks in the world of cross country and track. Over the past two weeks, Connor has seized victory in consecutive cross country meets while consistently shaving off precious seconds from his race times. 

In our candid conversation, Connor revealed a transformative shift in his mindset compared to last year. Instead of fixating on outcomes, he redirected his energy towards the daily grind of process goals. Each day, he meticulously set out his steps, whether it was working with Bill, Earlham’s athletic trainer, or pushing himself to execute workouts to perfection. The emphasis was on achieving excellence in each moment, regardless of the ultimate result. 

Connor’s stellar performance last year was marred by a stress fracture that sidelined him for a significant part of the season. However, his determination shone through as he made a triumphant return during the winter and spring outdoor seasons, securing silver medals in the 5k and 10k events. Yet, Connor felt there was more to achieve, particularly emphasizing the cumulative nature of distance running, which directly translates into track success. 

Reflecting on his injury-induced absence, Connor highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong foundation from cross country, which he had to rebuild after his injury. As time passed and his injury healed, he began to reap the rewards of his unwavering commitment, as demonstrated by his recent race performances. 

When asked about his prospects of continuing his winning streak in the weeks ahead, Connor’s response was characterized by humility and a focus on the process. He acknowledged the rising competition as the season deepens but expressed confidence in his day-to-day training regimen, believing it will carry him to victory through the postseason. 

One of Connor’s ambitious goals is to qualify for the outdoor track season and etch his name alongside the records he currently holds: the 8k cross country, 5k indoors, 5k outdoors, and the 10k outdoors. However, he emphasized that while records are remarkable, his true passion lies in winning, making it to the national meet, and earning those prestigious honors. 

Connor, a junior with two more years to chase his dreams, had some sage advice to share with his fellow Earlham athletes. He reminded them that he wasn’t an exceptional athlete when recruited, but through dedicated coaching, relentless hard work, and the support of his teammates, he transformed himself. He encouraged them to aim higher than others expect to put in the sweat and effort because, as he put it, “no one has a crystal ball to predict your future.” 

Connor Del Carmen’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, the value of setting audacious goals, and the importance of embracing the process of continuous improvement. His story serves as an inspiring example for athletes at Earlham.

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