Dyer ready to roar as a Lion

Dyer runs the 5000m at the NatWest Island Games in Gotland.

Top Cayman Islands junior middle distance and distance runner Dominic Dyer leaves island this week to begin his collegiate career for Ivy League school Columbia University in New York and prove himself against some of top-level NCAA competition.

Dyer, who has starred locally for 345 Athletic Club, as well as Cayman Prep and High School, makes the transition to the Columbia Lions despite missing out on an athletic scholarship but was still good enough to secure a spot on the team as a freshman.

That, he said, serves as additional motivation to step up to the challenge at the Division I school. “It really does make me want to work even harder,” he said.

“You feel like you almost have to prove yourself a bit more, prove your worth because some of these guys were brought into the school and their applications were supported by the athletic department…but that doesn’t mean I can’t be as good or better than them,” the reigning CARIFTA Games U20 5000m gold medallist told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

Dyer has been the man to beat in road races over the past year.

Dyer, a regular forced to be reckoned with on the local road race circuit, said he looks forward to the challenge of competing against top runners on the United States collegiate scene.

“I’m just really excited to see how much I can improve to train with all those other people and competing against so many other good runners because here, it’s often me training by myself or with one other person. I’m really excited and looking for some big improvements to my time this year,” he said.

Among the highlights of Dyer’s year was winning gold in the 5000m and bronze in the 1500m at the Flow CARIFTA Games in Curacao in April.

However, plans to add more hardware at the NatWest Island Games in Gotland, Sweden, failed to materialise, as he finished off the podium in the 5000m there. He finished fifth in 15 minutes, 22.55 seconds.

“I did feel confident that I could medal in the event and run a PB. I went out and tucked in behind the leader after a few laps. It was a little bit rough because I’m not accustomed to run in the pack…with about four and a half laps to go, I started to feel it and just seemed to mentally and physically shut down all at once. That doesn’t happen a lot with me but I just had a bad day, I guess,” Dyer said.

“I didn’t run too far off my PB but I was disappointed with my performance and feel like I should have closed my season out with a medal there and a personal best.”

Dyer: “You feel like you almost have to prove yourself a bit more…”

Although a medal did not come of the effort, as he heads off to continue his studies in the classroom, Dyer also took a lesson from that outing on the track. “It is great just getting that experience and exposure running against a field of 15 people who are all good runners. It gives me a taste of what I’ll be experiencing in college this year,” he said.

In the year ahead, Dyer plans to represent the Cayman Islands and end his CARIFTA career on a high with his fifth trip to the regional championships, while increasing on his five career medals. “I like the fact that I’ve been able to improve each year and next year, what I’m looking for is two gold medals and possibly the record in the 5000m.”

Director of Cross Country/Track & Field at Columbia, Daniel Ireland, said he was excited about Dyer and the other 18 newcomers joining the Lions team.

“We are very excited about the class of 2021. With the addition of this class, it will allow our men’s track and field team to be competitive in every track and field event that is contested during both the indoor and outdoor track seasons.

“We have brought in athletes that cover areas that we have not had coverage in recently and all of these student athletes should contribute immediately. I am very excited about what our cross country and track and field teams can accomplish in the very near future,” Ireland said in an article on the school’s website.

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