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Track: Running to top – Boyd grad garners national attention at Tarleton

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, March 17, 2018
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All American

ALL-AMERICAN – Boyd graduate and Tarleton junior Dalton Stidham finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division II indoor national championships, earning him All-American status. Stidham clocked a 7.95 finish in the finals. Photo courtesy of Tarleton Athletics

Dalton Stidham turned heads locally when he brought home the silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2014 UIL Track and Field Championships during his senior season at Boyd.

Almost four years later, Stidham is garnering attention on the national level.

The Tarleton State University junior finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles last weekend at the NCAA Division II indoor national championships.

Stidham clocked a 7.95 in the finals, finishing 0.2 seconds shy of claiming the bronze medal. Stidham’s performance earned him All-American status for the first time.

“It’s achieving a dream I set my freshman year of college,” Stidham said. “It’s just been a great season. To come out and finish it [by] being an All-American, that says I’m one of the best at doing what I do in Division II.

“I like to rise to the occasion. If I’m running against fast people, I always run fast and drop crazy times. I like good competition.”

Stidham entered the national championships ranked No. 14 in the country. He shaved a tenth of a second off his time.

In 2017, Stidham broke the Tarleton record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.05 seconds. He shattered his own record last weekend in the prelims, posting a 7.91. Tarleton coach Pat Ponder was so impressed with Stidham’s work ethic that he offered him a scholarship after his freshman season.

“There was never a doubt [we would give him a scholarship],” Ponder said. “After his freshman year, it was pretty evident that this young man deserved a scholarship because he earned it. He’s taken that and literally, no pun intended, he’s run with it.”

Although he is now an All-American, Boyd coach John Basting said Stidham was not always the fastest runner on the track. Basting recalled Stidham being one of the smallest athletes on the team when he arrived at Boyd. But Stidham never let his size deter him from reaching his goals.

“He always took an interest in track,” Basting said. “That was his thing. He wasn’t the fastest or anything, but he would always work extra. He’d be the last one out there and the first one on the track, always trying to get better. He had a plan that he wanted to be as good as he could be.”

Coming from a small school didn’t deter Ponder from recruiting Stidham. Ponder said there is plenty of talent in small towns – they just have to find it.

“Who knew? Who knew coming out of Boyd, Texas, that Dalton would be the athlete that he is today? He doesn’t back down from a challenge. He’s just one of those kids that loves competing,” Ponder said.

Stidham will kick off the outdoor track season Saturday at the Cactus Cup in Kingsville.

“[This] kind of solidifies what we’ve worked for through my whole track career,” said Stidham of his finish at the indoor national championships. “[It shows] those hours weren’t just thrown away. All that training paid off.”

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