Written by Sophie Rossitto // Photo by Macy Cox
Going into a big track meet, junior sprinter Dakarai Bush said his approach is to focus on the preparation he has done leading up to that point.
“My mindset is, I’ve put in all this work, so I’m just going to run my hardest,” Bush said.
The track star brought this attitude with him to the Ole Miss Classic in Oxford, Mississippi, March 24-25. Despite facing a field that included multiple Division I opponents, Bush said he did not let the level of competition faze him.
During the 400-meter race, the junior smashed a 20-year-old Harding record on his way to a first-place finish. Bush posted a time of 46.60 seconds, besting Tyler Kemmerer’s time of 47.20 seconds, set in 2003. Bush recorded the fastest time for the event so far this season in Division II.
The junior also earned first place in the 200 meters with a time of 21.33 seconds, a new personal best. In addition, Bush was part of the four-member team that finished second in the 4×100-meter relay.
Head track and field coach Don Hood said Bush has combined his natural talent with his high work ethic and character to find success on the track.
“Dak is one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever been around, so it never surprises me when he wins because he is just driven internally to be the best he can possibly be,” Hood said.
The coach said that in practice, Bush has been working on becoming more efficient as a runner and getting rid of excess motion. Bush said he has also worked on keeping his arms straight and his feet in the right position.
Hood said Bush has developed a lot since he arrived on campus as a freshman. With the help of his strength and conditioning coaches, Bush has transformed his tall, thin frame into a stronger, more muscular build.
“He’s a relentless worker, and so I think he’s just kind of sculpted himself into an ideal athlete through just hard work and persistence and just sheer determination, a will to win that a lot of guys don’t have,” Hood said.
Bush earned multiple first-team All-GAC awards in 2021 and 2022. He said his main goal for this season is to win a national championship in the 400-meter event or hurdles, as well as become an All-American.
Bush said he also has aspirations for the track and field team to earn a national championship, following their Great American Conference title last spring.
“That’s really the main goal,” Bush said. “And conference champion would be good, too, again.”
Senior Krishaun Watson, who has competed with Bush in the 4×100 relay, said the junior sprinter always gives his best effort in practice and pushes everyone on the team to improve each day.
“He is a great teammate that will give you his all whether he is tired or feeling amazing,” Watson said. “He strives to improve not only at every meet but also every day in practice.”