The term dominance is not one that’s been thrown around in the recent spell of Tech sports. Other teams dominate in football. Baseball and basketball come down to earth against high level teams. Softball and swimming are on the up and up. If not for the existence of the Louisville Cardinals in volleyball and basketball, Tech’s seasons in those sports could be very different.
Instead, Tech’s sole piece of truly consistent dominance has been in the track realm. Nicole Fegans, a senior from Douglasville, Georgia, has done nothing short of remarkable, elite running in the 2021-2022 season. On the track, she set career bests in the 800m, 1000m, 1500m, mile, 3000m, 5000m, and 6k cross country race all this year. In her first attempt at the 10k this year, she set the school record at 32:45.30.
“The 10k was really cool. Definitely a highlight,” said Fegans in an interview with The Technique. “I only went to go for a PR, but it was so cool nonetheless to run a faster 10k than I thought I could run.”
It was part of a season that, according to Nicole, has plenty of room still for her to improve her times.
“For outdoor, I would just rate it 10/10 on fun and maybe a 5/10 in regards to how I’ve done so far…well actually I’ll move that to a 7.5 because I’ve only raced once and then I’ve paced two races. The pacing was actually really really fun. I got to pace my sister and then got to pace the 1500m which was cool. But obviously getting to race is always the best part and since I’ve only raced once this season I’m just itching to get to race again soon,” Fegans said.
Nicole’s sister, Erin, is a sophomore psychology major and hasn’t appeared in a meet this season for Tech, but the two have made excellent training partners.
“We started running together as much as we could throughout the week depending on our mileage. It’s so awesome just to be not just on a team with her but getting to do this stage of life with her is really cool. Just because I know how hard freshman year can be and adjusting and everything like that. It’s been awesome to be with her along the way and give her advice and enjoy this stage of life together,” Fegans said.
Fegans sits alongside many female athletes on campus that have been incredibly successful in the last year (basketball’s starting five, the Killer B’s, Blake Neleman, Jin Sileo, McKenzie Campbell) and helped Tech gain notoriety in their respective sports.
“Mentally, all the women at Tech just want to show out to show women can do it as good if not better than men can. Obviously our men’s sports are great, no disrespect to them. I feel our women are just like, ‘We’re here, we’re at a hard school, we’re doing hard sports and doing all the hard things people say women can’t do.’ Doing that at a predominantly male school is pretty cool too,” Fegans said.
At Tech, a historically football dominant school with decades of success under coaches like John Heisman, Bobby Dodd, and Paul Johnson, the last three years have been abysmal. While football brings in millions of dollars for the Athletic Association, wins have been coming from other teams on campus, with Fegans being one of the best The Flats has to offer.
“15:30 would be cool to run for a 5k, 4:15 is what I would love for a 1500. We’ll see depending on my race plan and who’s in the race and stuff like that. It’d be cool to get 5-6 seconds on all the stuff I’ve run this year,” Fegans said.
Of course, like many of us on campus, Fegans takes classes and has a student life to balance with being a top-tier runner.
“Obviously if you’re a student athlete and going to class and stuff like that, you’re as hard of a worker as anyone else at any other school, but I do know that Georgia Tech has that difficulty that comes with being as good of a school as we are…I think it gives us a little more pride that we are able to do this hard school, we are able to go to all the practices, and then continue to run well and do school well,” said Fegans.
Fegans has opportunities at home during the Georgia Tech Invitational and the historic Penn Relays before the outdoor ACC Championships from May 12-14 to aim for her targeted times, which comes not long after she will graduate with a degree in Business Administration.
“Don’t be afraid to take a study break,” Fegans said in regards to what future athletes coming to Tech should know. “I feel like all the time everyone feels so overwhelmed by school and I understand it can be a lot. But when you look back on college, you don’t remember the tests you took or anything like that. You remember the memories you made. Get out there and do stuff.”