As the indoor season comes to a close, the team’s current star seems to be passing the metaphorical torch to a new holder.
Senior Casimir Loxsom and freshman Brannon Kidder were both honored with Big Ten awards Wednesday, with the former taking home Big Ten Track Athlete of the Championship, and Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year awards, while the latter took home the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award.
With one being a senior, and the other a freshman, there is a natural bit of a mentor/mentee relationship between the two.
“They’re very committed athletes, they’re trained very well, and that entire middle distance group looks up to Cas and what he’s accomplished,” coach Beth Alford-Sullivan said. “Yet Brannon brings in a lot of great credentials himself, so they mix well together”
Loxsom had a record-breaking season across the board, highlighted by his national collegiate record-setting time in the 600-meter dash of 1:15.42, which is the fastest time ever run by an American.
Sullivan thought that Loxsom’s 600 time is what really “put a cap” on his winning the award.
Despite winning such a lofty conference honor, the senior and coach both say that it is simply being used now as ammunition for future performances at the NCAA indoor championships starting March 8.
“He’s going to have some great competition but he’s going to try and really do something special there,” Sullivan said of Loxsom, who is running in his fourth national championships in as many years.
Despite never missing Nationals, Loxsom said that he feels like he hasn’t come into a national meet before with the momentum that he has currently, coming off of a phenomenal performance at the Big Ten championships.
Sullivan also was proud of her freshman phenom.
“He’s got a good demeanor, he stays calm under pressure, and yet he’s a really exciting athlete to watch,” she said of Kidder.
Kidder, who won the Big Ten title in the 800-meter run this past weekend, has been zipping to success all season. Earlier in the year he posted a sub-four minute mile at the Penn State National.
Loxsom and Kidder’s relationship with one another has been growing all season, and for the most part, the senior looks at the freshman as he does any other teammate.
“He’s a freshman just because of his age,” the New Haven, Conn., native said. “But not so much in terms of his racing ability and his mental approach to things”
Kidder was more appreciative of his time with Loxsom.
“He’s been there before so he knows what it’s all about, so it’s been good to have him there for guidance,” he said.
Loxsom works mostly with mid-distance running, and Kidder with longer distances, but the duo overlaps with the 800-meter run, which Kidder won the Big Ten title, and Loxsom won three years ago as a freshman.
Loxsom sees the similarities between himself and the freshman from Lancaster, Ohio.
“He has just as big goals as I did my freshman year and I think they’re starting to materialize,” he said.
The two joked that the most obvious similarity between them is that everyone says they look alike, but Sullivan has a different perspective.
“There’s a component to track and field that if you want to be good in any event you have to have it,” the coach said. “And it’s called speed. And they both have that.”