Breaking school records isn’t on most students’ weekend agendas, but for Samuel Stoner-Eby, it has become a regular occurrence. Last weekend was no exception.On Friday, Jan. 28, the junior crushed Goshen College’s 200-meter record by .56 seconds, with a time of 22.32 seconds. After being converted for the track size, his time was 21.93 seconds, a time that qualified him for the NAIA National Track Championships, held this year in North Dakota.
Stoner-Eby was just getting started. Already owning Goshen’s 400-meter record, he broke it again on Saturday with a time of 49.92 seconds. After the conversion, this time was also good enough to qualify him for the national competition.
These accomplishments earned Eby-Stoner the Crossroads League Men’s Indoor Track & Field Track Athlete of the Week award.
A year or two ago, the junior’s achievements would have seemed inconceivable. Living in Rwanda throughout high school meant that Stoner-Eby was unable to run track. He played soccer in high school, but coming to Goshen, he expected that his athletic career was over.
It turned out it wasn’t. Having some friends on the track team, Stoner-Eby decided to try the sport.
“When I joined, my expectations were very low,” he said. “I was mostly doing it for fun.”
But Stoner-Eby steadily climbed up the ranks, from a middle of the pack runner to a conference meet competitor to, eventually, a national qualifier.
“My parents will tell you that I was always pretty fast,” Stoner-Eby said.
But the athlete’s accomplishments, he emphasizes, are due to a great deal more than just natural talent. He gives great credit to his teammates for their support.
“Before every meet, me and some of my teammates do a contrast bath,” he said. “I’ve really appreciated being part of the team and having teammates to work out with and push me.”
He also credited his coaches with helping him to succeed.
“All the coaches were super welcoming,” he said. “I’m super grateful. I couldn’t have done it without their expertise.”
Having only run competitively for about a year, Stoner-Eby is still figuring out his habits and strategies for racing: “Before my events, I try to relax. I really enjoy being at track meets; seeing other races gets me excited.”
The junior will compete in the 200- and 400-meter events at the indoor National Track Championship the first weekend of March.
“I’m still pretty new,” he said, “my body is adapting and I’m improving rapidly.”