Salute to Seniors: Damien Dilcher of Brick Twp

Salute To Seniors is a medium for "senior farewells". We wanted to give everyone a chance to salute them one more time as well as invite those seniors to tell their stories from the past four years. We have a number of entries in queue to finish out July, thank you to everyone who submitted. 

Athlete: Damien Dilcher

School: Brick Township

College: Iona College

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable race, I would have to say, was Meet of Champions my junior year. Coming off a bad outing to my winter season and a very slow start to my spring season I had almost gave up but my coach kept pushing me to work harder and harder and she was right, the hard work payed off in what was a season best 1:53.33 and really opened my eyes to what could be done in the future with hard work.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

I would have to say my biggest competition over my career was Devin Hart. Being in the same county and conference for cross and track with one of the nation's best is very helpful. Devin and I have had some crazy races against each and experienced great things such as Footlocker XC Nationals and he has always pushed me to run my best and my fastest because to compete with him you cannot give any less than that. So to Devin a huge thank you for all the talks, races, and moments we have had together competing and outside of competion.

What was your greatest accomplishment? 

My greatest accomplishment was winning the belt at the Twilight Night of the 1600s. I had worked so hard up to that race and prepped so much extra to make sure I was in the right shape and had the right mindset to go and compete against the great competition that night. The hard work and extra prep had paid off big time when I crossed the line in first in 4:11.5 with a huge PR and winning the belt that I had been craving to have for two years. It was a great moment to celebrate with my team, coach, and family.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your high school career? 

If there was something I could change it would be running XC and winter track my sophomore year. I really felt like I threw everything off with not competing or training and I feel as if maybe I could have been at a higher level if I did run that year but that is something I will never know.

What will you miss the most?

I am going to miss my distance team and coach McCabe the most. My team and coach McCabe have been there for me and supported all the choices I have made over my years running and they have always had my back no matter what happened. They came out and supported me in every race whether it was down the street or across the country and I cannot come close to showing them how much I appreciate everything they do and have done for me over the years. So thank you for absolutely everything you have done for me and have helped me achieve, I could not have done it without you guys.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Advice I would give younger athletes would be to always outwork your competition of course and to cherish every moment you have. The young group of guys I have had the opportunity to work with the past couple of years are the hardest working group of kids I have ever met and I would tell them to out work their competition because there is always someone else out there trying to outwork you. Also to cherish every moment you get because they will last a lifetime.

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

Coach McCabe's influence and respect for my life goals and performance was huge. Coach McCabe has always helped me achieve my goals no matter what they were or no matter how much time and effort they took. She would spend days at practice with me for hours upon hours just to help me reach a goal. She has always motivated me when I wanted to give up and pushed me to be the absolute best I can be in and out of sports. I am so thankful for being able to train under her and learn from her and her experiences and apply them to my own life and to use them to help and teach others. She is the most supportive and best coach in the state hands down.

What are your post-high school or college plans?

I am going to continue my academic and athletic career at IONA.

Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would of course thank my family and my mom for making sure I was on the right track throughout high school and always being there for me and supporting me helping me through difficult times. I would like to thank my competition and friends for always pushing me to run my best and help me achieve my goals on the course and track. I would like to thank my team for always being supportive of my goals and supporting me with all the choices I had to make and being so understanding. I would like to thank THRIVE for always making sure my body was in the best possible condition it could be in. Last I would like to thank McCabe again she has been there for me through it all she just kept moving forward and pushing me to make sure I have the best most successful and healthy future possible. Always making sure I had a good lunch and dinner and prepped for races correctly with ice and heat baths and always being there for me when I needed her most, she not only was my coach but she became my best friend and I am very thankful for her and all the people that supported me in my journey through high school. Much love to you all <3!!