Delia Labatt steps up and brings triumph for the Women’s 4X400 relay
by Molly Korzenowski
Delia Labatt, a sophomore Biokinetics Major, gazes up at the big display screen and sees that her 4X400 relay team has beaten their personal record. It’s the 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship, the race Labatt had trained all season for. Soon she will discover whether or not she achieved her goal to bring back an All-American award from nationals.
Labatt’s preparation for the national meet really started her freshman year. It was more of a training season as she paced out the 400 meter dash and mastered its rhythm. Being the only woman from Bethel to make it to the 2017 national meet, Labatt knew that track hadn’t seen the last of her. With determination for a second chance, Labatt geared up for practice this year like never before.
“She lifts hard, she runs hard. Her work ethic is a reflection of who she is. She really puts everything she can into it,” head Track and Field Coach Andrew Rock said.
Rock was impressed with the way Labatt decided to become a leader on her team. She carries with her knowledge about the national meet and her determination needed to make it again. This determination started to rub off on her teammates.
“Everyone gives their all every day in practice, which makes it easier to give our all in races,” said senior Biology major Erin Alpers, the third runner in the 4X400 relay.
Labatt is not only motivated by her goals; she is also motivated to help her other teammates succeed. Relays give her the extra motivation to push beyond the limits. She would hate to let her teammates down. Labatt is part of the reason five women made it to nationals this year: She wouldn’t let them give up.
“They hear it from someone who is in it with them, their teammate, their peer. I think that’s a big part of the impact Delia is making,” Rock said.
At nationals, Labatt ran two open 400 meter dashes and two 400 meter relays in less than 36 hours as she went through preliminaries and finals. Labatt said she felt dead, but the results, the personal records, and the satisfaction of a good race keep her going.
“I don’t actually like running,” Labatt said with a laugh. “Running is hard… but it’s really rewarding when the painful workouts pay off.”
This year, they did.
Coach came running up to the girls as they celebrated their new record for the 4X400.
“You’re gonna die when you find out what place you got,” he said, the excitement evident in his eyes.
It was at that moment the girls found out they got 4th place in the 4X400, gaining them all an All-American award. Labatt ran up to her mother on the bleachers and gave her a huge hug. She was physically exhausted and tears were rolling down her cheeks, but she didn’t care. Labatt had more than accomplished her goal. She was coming home a two-time All-American: in the 400 meter dash and in the 4X400.
“Things are more achievable than you think they are,” Labatt said.