March 12, 2014
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
By Kameron Payne, WWU sports information office
Having already earned the tag of Western Washington University's "Fastest Human," sprinter Alex Donigian (pronounced Doe-Knee-Gee-In) is competing this weekend in the men's 60 meters at the NCAA Division II National Indoor Track & Field Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Donigian enters the meet tied for fourth nationally with a time of 6.75 seconds accomplished a month ago at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships. Finishing among the top eight at nationals would earn him All-America recognition.
Donigian was named Male Outstanding Performer in helping the Viking men to a GNAC title. His winning 60 and 200 (21.79) times were both school and conference records.
Last spring, Donigian established a school outdoor record of 10.57 in the 100. His best 200 time of 21.83 ranks sixth in school history and he ran on a 4x100 relay that recorded WWU's second-best time of 41.36.
Donigian, a junior from Mission Viejo, Calif., attended Trabucco Hills High School where he was the indoor state champion in the 55 meters. As a freshman, he competed at NCAA I University of Northern Colorado but did not have a good experience.
"I just did not get along with the coaches there," said Donigian. "They wanted to control me and had me questioning myself and why I ran. That wasn't jiving with my idea of running and my personal relationship with it."
So, Donigian, a bio-chemistry major, came to WWU to concentrate on academics with little or no intention of running track.
However, after some time thinking it over and persuasion from his mother, Donigian decided to give track another shot.
WWU assistant track coach David Burnett knew from his first meeting with Donigian that he would be a great fit for the program and for him to coach.
"His personality is unique, he's the kind of kid every coach dreams of having from being a leader to a performer," Burnett said. "He needed a coach to motivate him and we clicked from the get-go."
Donigian said his running career changed drastically the day he met Burnett.
"Everything changed. I met him and realized he believes in the art of running, not just me being a puppet, but him and I creating something together. That is what I'd been looking for."
Head coach Pee Wee Halsell, who has been at WWU for 27 years, says he has never met an athlete quite like Donigian when considering both his personality and his ability.
"I say it's a God-given talent, but he also is doing the work to make sure that talent is being used," Halsell said.
Donigian goes beyond what it takes just to be a fast runner. He is learning every aspect of what is needed to be the fastest and perfecting each facet.
"He is becoming a student of the sport, not just learning what it takes to get from zero meters to the finish," Burnett said. "He's learning the little things it takes to keep his body physically and mentally prepared.
"He's a tough guy who has gone that extra mile, made several gains in the weight room, and is doing everything off the track he needs too to keep his mind and body ready for the next competition."
Despite his successes, Donigian is not content and is always pushing himself for more.
"I get up in the morning and think, `what can I do to run faster?' I wake up and the first thing I do is some stretching in my bed," Donigian said. "It's a lifestyle, it's not just something I think about - it's something I live. It's validation of me using the tools I've been given and making the most of them."
While happy about making it to indoor nationals, Donigian says his ultimate goal is to top the charts in the outdoor 100, an event that has the toughest and most known competition.
Though just at the start of his junior year, Donigian shows the maturity and leadership of a senior.
"He's out there doing the things he needs to do and leads by example," Halsell said. "He's very serious about every aspect of training, whether it's in the warm-up and stretching or giving it his all on the track."
Donigian sums it up best.
"The reason why I run is because it's a way for me to spiritually get in contact with myself, God, and the world around me," Donigian said. "The reason why I run so well is because of my drive to succeed."
Vikings Place 5th in Both Men's and Women's Indoor GNAC Championships
Jasmine McMullin becomes three-time triple jump champion with NCAA AQ, Tupre Wickliff wins high jump
McMullin Wins Long Jump at GNAC Indoor Championships
WWU women are 4th, WWU men are 6th after first day at conference meet
Track & Field Set for GNAC Indoor Championships
The Vikings compete at the conference meet on Friday and Saturday in Idaho
Advance Tickets Available for GNAC Championships
The 2018 GNAC Indoor Championships take place Feb. 16-17 in Nampa, Idaho
Konrad Posts Provisional-Qualifying Mark at UW Open
J.T. Konrad ties for 6th in pole vault, WWU women add program top-10 marks
WWU Relay Teams Post Program Top-10 Times at Husky Classic
Vikings close out Husky Classic on Saturday, UW Open set for Sunday
WWU Adds Program Top-10 Marks at Husky Classic
Vikings compete Friday evening to open the two-day Husky Classic meet at Dempsey Indoor
WWU Returns to Seattle for Husky Classic, UW Open
The Vikings will compete Friday through Sunday at Dempsey Indoor
WWU Posts Strong Performances at Cougar Indoor
Vikings record four program top-10 efforts during second day of competition at WSU
Track & Field Opens Competition at Cougar Indoor
Vikings add pair of program top-10 marks in women's weight throw on Friday
Track & Field Headed to WSU for Cougar Indoor
WWU competes on Friday and Saturday at the WSU Indoor Practice Facility
Vikings Have Strong Performances at Second Day of UW Invitational
WWU adds eight program top-10 marks on Saturday at Dempsey Indoor
WWU Opens Competition at UW Invitational
Vikings compete in nine events, post five program top-10 marks on Friday
Vikings Travel to UW Invitational for Second Indoor Meet
Two-day meet spans Friday and Saturday as WWU returns to Dempsey Indoor
WWU Opens Season with Strong Performances at UW Preview
Jasmine McMullin posts provisional-qualifying mark in triple jump