Tori Long’s transition from high school to college track and field athlete was not seamless.
In August, the Davidson College freshman discovered the importance of proper technique just in the warm-up exercises alone.
“I didn’t realize what a difference there would be between high school and college track. The first indoor meet I went to I was shocked at how big it was,” said Long, a former Center Grove High School athlete who placed seventh in the 400-meter dash at the 2015 IHSAA State Finals.
“You see all these great athletes, and it’s just so neat to be in that environment. It’s D-I. It’s intense and it’s fun.”
Long spent the winter making a name for herself during Davidson’s indoor track season.
She established the Wildcats’ fastest times in four individual running events – the 200-meter dash (27.35 seconds) and the 300- (43.67), 400- (59.58) and 500-meter runs (1:20.0).
She also played a role in the Wildcats’ fastest relays of the indoor season, a 4:00.0 in the 4×400-meter relay and 12:11.61 in the distance medley relay.
Versatility is on of Long’s hallmarks. After all, she participated in six different events, including the 300-meter hurdles, at various points during her time at Center Grove.
“Tori is a dedicated athlete and a relentless worker. She works tirelessly at getting better and is very passionate about the sport,” Davidson coach Rory Carpenter said.
“She’s the kind of athlete any coach loves to work with and has a bright future ahead of her both as an athlete and as a person.”
Davidson opened its outdoor track season this past weekend at the 49er Classic, hosted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Long finished as her program’s fastest in the 400, placing 18th (of 76 runners) in 58.37 seconds. She had the 79th-fastest overall time (of 120 runners) in the 200-meter dash with a 26.82.
Forty nine teams, including Anderson University and IUPUI, took part in the meet, which was only a 30-mile drive south from the Davidson campus.
The big-meet atmosphere is what Long looked forward to when she committed to Davidson. She is also a fan of the school’s academic offerings.
“It’s better here than I ever could have imagined. The people definitely make the experience here,” said Long, who holds Center Grove’s record in the 400 (57.88 at last year’s Shelbyville Regional).
“There’s such a diversity of people, which gives it a very interesting dynamic,” she said. “It’s a special culture here.”
THE LONG FILE
Name: Tori Long
Family: Parents, Tad and Cathy; sisters, Abby, 21, and Olivia, 13
Favorite TV show: “I Love Lucy”
Favorite food: Tuna salad
Favorite movie: “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
Favorite athlete: Sonya Richards-Ross
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts