Dathan Hickeyâ€™s career as a Bristol Central athlete has established him within the community as one of the schoolâ€™s best.
Hickeyâ€™s performance in the past had been measured by his superb abilities as a baseball and football player. But this past season, his short tenure with the track and field team has proven his athleticism extends well beyond the gridiron.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound baseball player turned track phenom has put up incredible numbers in his first and only year as a senior member of the Ramsâ€™ track team.
â€śIâ€™ve played baseball since I was little. I just decided to come to track because I knew what I wanted to do after college was play in the NFL,â€ť Hickey said. â€śI wanted to start and play as a freshman in college, and I knew that coming to track would strengthen my core, improve my speed and improve my jumping ability.â€ť
Hickey takes advantage of the most that track has to offer. Finding his way to compete in the boys 4x100 relay, 100-meter dash, and long jump. All of which he qualified in to compete in the State Open.
â€śIâ€™ve never had an athlete as a first year be as dominant,â€ť coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. â€śHeâ€™s doing technical events like long jump, that he hasnâ€™t done before, that are very hard, and is excelling as one of the top in the state. Iâ€™ve never really seen anything like it and Iâ€™ve been coaching for 20 years.â€ť
Hickey went into the State Open seeded second for the long jump, qualifying with a personal best of 22 feet, 6.75 inches. Even though he placed fourth in the Open, he missed beating his personal best by 2.5 inches and missed first place by exactly one foot.
Dathanâ€™s best performance at the Open came during the 4x100 relay. He and his teammates Nigel West, Pat Kjnorrattanawanich, and David Bowes powered through the race. They took second place with a time of 42.64 seconds. Their effort broke the schoolâ€™s long-standing record by a hundredth of a second.
Hickeyâ€™s effort at the State Open saw him rake in 13 points for Bristol Central - eight coming from the 4x100 and five from the long jump. The entire boys team ended the meet with 18 points across all events.
Following his graduation from Bristol Central, Hickey will be attending Yale University in New Haven. He was recruited earlier this year to play football for the Bulldogs.
Hickeyâ€™s talent and athleticism will be tested at Yale. He will be joining a program that went 9-1 in 2017 under the leadership of head coach Tony Reno. He is currently undecided on what he will be studying.
Before he sets his eyes completely on Yale, the young athlete has two major track events left in his short, yet bright career.
â€śThey are going to nationals, the 4x100, so they are trying to raise money,â€ť coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said. â€śAt nationals they run two sections, a championship section and an emerging elite section. With their time [at the State Open], they moved into the championship time, so theyâ€™re excited about that.â€ť
The team is also headed for the New England meet on Saturday.
With a lot to look forward to, Hickey and his teammates aim to close out the year on a high note. Their goal is to surpass the legacy left behind by the 2002 boys 4x100 team, which took second in the New England meet.