Leaving a legacy

? Daugherty?s performance at nationals one of eight school records to bear his name.

Garrett Daugherty (right) lifts his hands in an expression of gratitude after finishing second in the men?s 800-meter finals at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. in May. He crossed the finish line in a school record 1:51.25, about half a second behind the first-place finisher from Oklahoma Baptist. Daugherty is part of eight school records at Tabor and said his desire is to glorify God through running.  Tania Daugherty Photo

Tabor College athlete Garrett Daugherty has left his mark on the track and his name in the record books during his time as a Bluejay.

A 2015 graduate, Daugh?erty wrote the final chapter of his career with a silver-medal finish in the men?s 800-meter finals at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in May.

Competing in what became his signature race, Daugherty crossed the finish line in a school record 1 minute, 51.25 seconds, about half a second behind the first-place finisher, Clay Shepperson from Oklahoma Baptist.

?My goal was to win and run sub 1:50,? Daugherty said. ?That didn?t happen, but I was happy with it just because I knew that I put it all out there. God blessed me with quite a bit of talent, and I?m just happy that I can use it to glorify him in how I run.?

Head track and field coach Dave Kroeker said Daugherty gave it everything he had.

?Strategically, (Garrett) ran a very smart race and did what he needed to do to win,? he said. ?The other guy just had more at the end.?

School records and honors

The school record in the 800 is just one of eight to bear Daugherty?s name.

Daugherty also holds outdoor records in the 1,500-meter run (3:58.06), and as a contributing member to three school record relays?the 4×100 (41.65), the 4×400 (3:16.26) and the 4×800 (7:43.7).

Indoors, Daugherty holds records in the 1,000-meter (2:26.54), the mile (4:18.16) and the 4×800 relay (7:53.22).

A four-time NAIA All-American, Daugherty earned All-American honors outdoors in the 800 in 2014 and 2015, distinguishing himself among his 2014 competitors as the only returning qualifier to finish among the top eight both years. He also turned in All-American finishes in the indoor 1,000 his junior and senior years.

Daugherty holds claim to 17 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship victories, including winning both the 1,500-meter and the 800-meter races at the outdoor championships this year.

His successful senior campaign culminated with the honor of being named the 2015 Tabor College Male Athlete of the Year.

Becoming a runner

Daugherty first discovered his talent for running in elementary school. A native of Minneapolis, Kan., Daugherty said he began beating his classmates in the mile run in third or fourth grade.

?I realized I was pretty good compared to at least the kids that I knew,? he said.

He joined the track team in junior high, and also played basketball and football.

His freshman year of high school, Daugherty gave up football to join Minneapolis High?s inaugural cross country team. While still a multi-sport athlete?he played basketball and ran cross country and track?his focus, admittedly, began to shift toward running.

Tabor years

Following his graduation in 2011, Daugherty chose to come to Tabor, where he has been a member of the cross country and track and field teams for four years.

Interestingly enough, he did not come to Tabor to run the 800.

?I came thinking I?d be a mile or 1,500 guy,? Daugherty said. ?I hadn?t hardly ever ran the 800.?

His freshman year, his focus in individual events was on the 1,500 and the mile. He added the indoor 1,000 to that list his sophomore year. While he did run the 800 a few times that year, even finishing third in the conference, it wasn?t his main focus.

By Daugherty?s junior year, he had keyed in on earning All-American status in the indoor 1,000, having qualified for nationals in that event the year before. He went on to place seventh in the nation (2:31.92).

When outdoor track season came, Daugherty said he wanted to focus on the 800 instead of the 1,500.

?I told (graduate assistant Armando Del Valle) that I kind of wanted to focus on the 800 more because I felt like I could get a lot better,? he said. ?I had run pretty fast times in relays.?

He placed third in the 800 at nationals that year.

Daugherty?s senior year, he again earned All-American status in the indoor 1,000 with an eighth-place finish at nationals (2:33.25). His career culminated with a silver-medal performance at the outdoor championships in the spring.

Kroeker said he didn?t think Landon Goertzen?s 2004 school record 800-meter time would be surpassed.

?When Garrett broke it at nationals last year, that was pretty awesome, then he broke it again,? he said,

But the road was not without its challenges. Daugherty has had a couple different cross country and assistant track and field coaches during his time at Tabor.

?This year has kind of been a little tougher, well the past couple years, just because of all the coaching changes and not having that steady coach there,? he said.

Additionally, as a result of student teaching in both Minneapolis and Marion this spring, he had the added challenge of training by himself.

?It was a real tribute to not only his athletic ability but his dedication to train,? Kroeker said. ?He had to do it alone.?

His weekly training routine involves at least one hour-long run, and, depending on the number of speed workouts he does, a light 20-30 minute run and at least two 40-minute runs.

As someone who enjoys running for the camaraderie, Daugherty admitted this semester was difficult.

?When you run with somebody, you find out a lot more about them and you can really strengthen friendships,? he said. ?That was kind of a tough transition this year I guess. With me student teaching, I never really ran with people all that much.?

Daugherty graduated from Tabor in May with a degree in physical education and health. He has accepted a job teaching pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade physical education in Meade, which will begin this fall.

Looking back

When asked about his favorite track event, Daugherty listed the 800 as well as the relays and the indoor 1,000.

The school record that surprises him most is the 4×100, which was set at the KCAC championships his junior year with teammates Caleb Blue, Josiah Oyebefun and Alex Grier with a time of 41.65. Daugherty had only began running with the relay halfway through the year.

?I was the fastest person left that could run because we had some injuries and we were kind of low on sprinters,? he said. ?My objective was to get the baton from the first runner to the third runner, but it was just kind of funny that we were able to go to nationals and set the school record. The fact that I was on it when we did that, that was kind of great.?

While all Daugherty?s school records are special, the one that means the most to him is the 800.

?Quite a few of them were set earlier on, but the 800 is the one that?s kind of been my main goal,? he said. ?That?s what I?ve been focusing on towards the end of my career.?

For Daugherty, running is a gift: ?God has given me this gift, and if I don?t use it properly, it?s kind of a waste.?

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