Track star Dale Leonard speaks on her success at Ramapo

Dale Leonard has cemented herself among the top Ramapo athletes of all time throughout the first seven months of her collegiate career. On Saturday, Leonard became the latest Roadrunner to be named a NCAA Track and Field All-American, an honor appointed to the top athletes nationwide.

“It still feels unreal when I think about everything I have accomplished during my first season of indoor track,” Leonard said in an interview with The Ramapo News. “When the season first started… I thought that there was no way that I would be able to have so much success. It is exciting to think about how far my team and I have come this season while having fun and working hard.”

Leonard competed in the mile run at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She finished with a time of 4:53.59, which lowered her own school record from the previous day. 

Leonard now holds the top three spots in Ramapo history in the event. Last week, Leonard set the meet record at the All-Atlantic Regional Track and Field Championships.

Leonard’s time netted her fourth place overall, though for the duration of the race she teetered between second and third place. Of the 10 competing runners, Leonard was the top freshman of the pack.

“It was really exciting to be able to represent my school at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships,” Leonard said. “I knew that there would be tough competition, but I made sure to remind myself to have fun and enjoy myself.”

Leonard was beat out by Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Grace Hadley, St. Lawrence University’s Alli Sibold and Wartburg College’s Aubrie Fisher, who finished first, second and third, respectively. Hadley and Fisher are both seniors, while Sibold is a junior. Leonard’s finish was just three seconds behind both Sibold and Fisher.

“It was a great learning experience to be able to race against so many talented athletes, and it reminds me of what I could be capable of in the future,” Leonard said. “I wanted to walk away from the race knowing that I had tried my best.”

As for what the future holds for Leonard, the Flemington native says she wants to continue to push herself to new limits. 

“Having this success as a freshman has shown me that I cannot limit myself,” she said.

The outdoor track and field season for the Roadrunners begins on March 29 at home with the Ramapo College Track and Field Invitational, and then continues on April 6 at the MET Championships.

“One of the most important things for me is that I continue to have fun and make memories with my teammates,” Leonard said. “I want to make sure that I am continuing to enjoy the sport and the time I spend with my teammates, instead of solely focusing on achieving more personal success.”

If she qualifies again, the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships are being held from May 23-25 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


Featured photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics