In three minutes and 23.53 seconds, four Keene State College students took down a  39-year-old record. The team of track runners took down the 4X400 relay record on April 18.

The meet was held in Springfield, Massachusetts and was the group’s first attempt at the 4X400 on an outdoor track. The meet was the Owls’ last of the regular season before they started their postseason efforts. All four athletes including  junior Eric Dietz,  junior Devin Sanford,  sophomore James Stergis Cox  and first-year runner Quintin Bazarnicki  expressed their sense of accomplishment when they won the race.

However, Sanford said that he and his three teammates were just looking to get it over with, because they had ran in other events before the relay. “We just tried to push through the race as best we could,” Dietz said.

Nonetheless, they caught their second wind and surpassed the school record that had stayed intact for nearly four decades. Stergis-Cox said that he and the others will break the record again — and again.

“We’ll probably break the record a couple more times in the next few weeks,” Cox said Stergis-Cox’ comments came as no surprise to his the other three teammates

“Of course he said that,” Sanford joked.  He said there’s a chance that Stergis-Cox could be right.

According to the runners, Injuries and fatigue have been obstacles that the four have had to surpass, but, with the proper rest,



Dietz said he agreed he and the others have the capability to do even better than they did in Springfield. The junior said that in addition to further practice, Stergis-Cox’ positivity  and Coach Tom Pickering’s techniques is a major reason as to why they have been able to achieve what they have. The boys said Pickering has them on a steady workout regimen of cardio and strength training, along with making sure they are eating right and getting enough sleep.

“A lot of us are in the best shape of our lives,” Stergis-Cox said The hard work is something the four runners said they see as a necessity in order to compete at the level that they do. “We get after it.  That’s our motto,” Bazarnicki said. Track and field, in many ways, is based on individual performance, but the 4X400 crew said that their event is based on a team effort. “We all came together and we’re a force to be reckoned with,” Bazarnicki said.   

The four record holders set their sights on breaking the record for a second time in the Little East Conference Championship meet on April 25. However, they have another chance to run into the record books again at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships in May. Bazarnicki said that he and his fellow relayers expect to show the competition what they can do after their performance in Springfield.

“We came together, and we’re a force to be reckoned with,” Bazarnicki said.

Jacob Barrett can be contacted at

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