Athlete Feature: Oyster River’s Devan McClain

Name: Devan McClain
Events: Indoor: 55m, 300m, 4x200m, 4x400m; Outdoor: 100m, 200m, 4x100m, 4x400m
PRs: 55m: 7.34, 300m: 41.78, 4x200m: 1:46.45, 4×400: 4:11.80, 100m: 12.87, 200m: 26.42, 4x100m:
49.95, 4x400m: 4:04.78

When did you start competing in track and field? 
I started running track when I was in 7th grade because I simply didn’t have the attention span to sit still all day. Getting to run in a more structured environment really helped me to focus by working away some of my energy!!

What is your favorite track and field event? What are your personal bests?
My favorite track and field event would probably be the 55 meter dash during the indoor season. My personal best from that event came from this past season’s Division II State Championship Meet, where I ran 7.34 in the finals. During the outdoor season, my favorite event is the 200 meter dash, and though I haven’t run the race too many times over my high school career, my personal best so far is 26.42.

Describe your favorite competition memory:
Though I’ve had a lot of great competition memories, my favorite would either have to be when I became an All-American at New Balance Indoor Nationals in 2016 with my Sprint Medley Relay team or when I became the Division II State Champion in the 55m dash last indoor season! In both situations, I was surrounded by an unbelievable amount of support from my coaches, teammates, and friends that made the experiences all the more enjoyable.

If you could do any event in track and field, which one would it be and why?
If I could do any event in track and field, I would probably pick one of the longer sprints, like the 300 or 400 meter dashes. I love how the technical elements of those races get combined with the power elements, as you really get to use some strategy within your race if you so chose.

Describe your favorite workout:
My favorite type of workout is definitely a tie between speed work and lifting! For speed, we usually use a long stretch of telephone poles near my school and alternate between sprinting and jogging every time we pass a pole. For lifting, we mostly deadlift and squat while using core and other dynamic exercises between sets to work different muscle groups.

How does your coach motivate you?
My coach, Nick Ricciardi, motivates me by helping me set different types of goals. At the beginning of every season, we sit down and create several categories of said goals, ranging from easily accomplished to more difficult. Setting multiple goals at different levels allows me to always be making measurable progress throughout the entire season, which is helpful to see. Nick also is extremely encouraging throughout workout sessions, and is definitely one of my biggest supporters.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Number one on my list of places to travel right now is Iceland! The scenery there looks so beautiful and would make an awesome backdrop for a workout.

What is your go-to pre-meet meal?
My go-to pre-meet meal is usually filled with lots of bread or pasta and/or a salad with some kind of protein. I try to make sure I’m eating right for several nights before a meet in order to make sure I’m ready to compete, and on race days themselves I never go anywhere without fruit or a ClifBar.

Do you have a favorite pre race song?
Yes! Music is by far the easiest way for me to stay focused during my pre-race drills. “All of the Lights” by Kanye West and “Beast” by Migos were definitely my favorites last season, and this preseason I’ve been listening to “Carry Your Throne” by Jon Bellion pretty consistently.

What motivates you most to do well?
I would say that previous successes motivate me the most to do well in the future. I always want to be improving, so even if a workout is really hard, I think about how it will all be worth it when I’m bettering my PRs and hopefully winning some races in the future.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
If I knew I could not fail, I would most definitely try some new events! Long jump and the 300m outdoor hurdles have both always looked fun to me, and I’m hoping to try one or both at least once in the upcoming season even if I’m not the best at them! Track has always been about competing while still having fun for me, so as long as I can do both those things, I’ll enjoy any event my coach chooses to put me in.

What is the best advice or quote ever given to you?
The best advice I’ve ever been given in the sport of track and field came from my coach over the past indoor season when he told me that success is a mindset. This quickly became instrumental to the way I approached everything, from competition to workouts. Since a lot of the races that I run are very technical, it’s important to visualize yourself doing well in all aspects of your race, and the same goes for lifting or speed work.

If you go to college, do you plan to compete in track and field? And where?
At the moment, running in college is definitely on my agenda. As for where and in what division/conference, I’m still working on talking to various coaches and figuring that piece out.

What is your favorite thing about Track and Field?
My favorite thing about track and field falls within the team dynamics behind the sport. It’s so unique in that races are mostly individual, with the exception of relays, yet the entire thing is team centered. At any given point, you’re competing alone, but still with the main goal of earning points for your team. In addition to these team dynamics, I also admire track and field for its honesty. My coach always says that the stopwatch doesn’t lie, and he’s right. At any given time, you can compare yourself to other athletes across the country and see right where you stand. It’s humbling in a sense, as you can never outrun what the clock says you did.

What is your favorite track facility?
Though I‘ve run on some beautiful tracks, such as Phillips Exeter and Dartmouth, my all-time favorite would have to be the Armory in New York. The noise factor from the fans was unbelievable there, which made the experience something I’ll remember forever.