UNCA student runner advances to national championships

By Kathryn Gambill
Sports Staff Writer
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Every evening, Delaydia Frink steps onto the track, ready to run.
Frink, a junior health and wellness student at UNC Asheville, has been training to race at the Club Cross Country National Championships in Lansing, Michigan on Nov. 11.
The runner qualified to race at the championships after competing at the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association Southeast Regional Championships in Spartanburg. He said he ranked high enough in his seeded race to compete at the national level.
Frink has been running cross country for five years. Before taking up cross country, he ran on his high school’s outdoor track team and said he felt devastated when he did not qualify to compete with the NCAA.
“I decided to suck it up and keep working toward my ultimate goal of being the best runner I can personally be and to run for my personal satisfaction and enjoyment,” Frink said.
After graduating high school and coming to UNCA, Frink founded the UNCA Running Club, which later become the cross country club team, his freshman year. He said he has been running with the team ever since.
“I wanted a team again and to be able to work out with people who will help me better myself as an individual,” the runner said.
Fiona Popp, a senior mechatronics engineering student, said this is her second year running on the club team.
Popp said she has been training with Frink and the team since it was just the Running Club.
Frink supports the other runners on the team and encourages them at competitions, Popp said. She said he acts proud when his teammates get a personal record (PR) and wants everyone to do their best.
“I met Delaydia in the fall of 2015 and then joined the cross country club team in the fall of 2016,” Popp said. “He is very determined to run a lot of miles and to PR and is passionate about running, which you can see at practice.”
Christina Newsom, a freshman health and wellness student, joined the club team her first week of classes. She said she has enjoyed training with Frink and the team since she joined.
“He’s very energetic and involved,” Newsom said. “We get along well and have a lot of fun, but he also has taught me a lot. I had no idea what a track workout entailed before running with him. I run casually and for fun and Delaydia has given me training tools to improve my fun runs so I can run on more challenging trails.”
One of Frink’s strengths is his involvement in the running community, Newsom said, as well as his passion and commitment to UNCA’s club team.
“He genuinely enjoys running, and that translates through the effort he puts into the team,” Newsom said. “Delaydia is friendly and has no fear in reaching out to Asheville runners, and in doing so he has access to a lot of resources.”
Frink said he enjoys being a leader to the team and wants to be someone his teammates can confide in.
Now, Frink is training alone to prepare for the club national championships.
“It’s challenged me mentally and physically,” Frink said. “Going from morning practices and making sure other teammates are doing the right things with morning classes, to training intensively in the evenings, to staying up all night doing homework, to officer meetings with officers on my team, and even blocking off about two hours of my time every day to make sure I am getting in the right training.”
The runner said he feels more competitive than many of his teammates, which has been a challenge for him.
“I find myself trying to motivate myself to complete workouts,” Frink said. “Sometimes I let it get to my head and cut some workouts short, but I’ve become stronger from that.”
To prepare for nationals, Frink said he is listening to his body and eating a healthier, more balanced diet.
“I’ve been training really hard up until regional championships and will be doing more workouts that are high in volume and high intensity with a few low intensity workouts,” Frink said. “I’ll also be covering more mileage.”
However, Frink is used to training and running in humid climates.
“I want to stay consistent and smart with training as I will be racing in different racing conditions in Michigan,” he said. “It will be freezing!”