Campus News Men's Sports News

Anik Dole is at the center of the passion and energy on the Springfield track and field team

By David Cataloni

As the springtime sun shined down on Blake Track, the Springfield College track and field team was consumed with positive energy. The warm-up lines of dedicated athletes – in sync as they walk through their routine ritual of dynamic and static stretches, shoulder-to-shoulder – were like soldiers marching into battle. At the center of it all was Anik Dole, encasing his teammates in his contagious positivity.

At 5-foot-4, Dole is the shortest sprinter on the team. Despite this, the junior Business Management major possesses one of the biggest hearts – and biggest personalities – among his teammates. His journey throughout athletics brought him from Oman, to Dubai, then halfway across the globe to Springfield. That journey is one of an enduring sense of resiliency, passion and grit.

Dole was born in Oman, which is located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in western Asia, He and his family then moved to Dubai when he was 13. “My childhood was in Oman. I had my goats, my everything,” Dole said. “That’s where I became an athlete and found my passion for track and field.”

Dole began competing in track and field competitions at 8 years old. “I came dead last in every race,” he said.

His first role model in track was his first head coach, Barakat Al Harthi. “My first coach was an Olympic coach,” he said. “He competed in Tokyo in 2020 and Rio in 2016.”

Early on during his track career, Dole would travel an hour from home, in order to work with Harthi. When Dole was 13, just before moving from Oman to Dubai, his career on the track took a long jump. In his last competition with his school in Oman, Dole “popped off” against his peers.

“I went from coming dead last to not even coming third or second, I came first,” he said. To this day, Dole doesn’t know for sure what clicked in him. “It [was] probably puberty,” he said. ”I asked my parents, ‘Did you put something in my drink? Was I drugged?’ My PE teacher asked me that question, my friends asked me. … as much as they were shocked, I was shocked.”

Of course, Dole wasn’t actually spiked with a mystery super serum at age 13, but he was spiked with the heart of a competitor. After just an amuse-bouche of what hard work paying off in track feels like, Dole went on to shatter his school’s sprint records the next year in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes.

“I know what it feels like coming first. It tastes good,” he said “And then that last year, I had that last shot, I broke the 100 record, and I broke the 200 record.”

Dole chased that winning feeling to the other side of the planet, where he followed his passion to Alden Street. Fast forward to age 20, when Dole found himself thriving at the collegiate level. He found the pinnacle of his success as the second leg of the 2021 All-American four-by-100 meter relay team. Dole cemented himself in Springfield College history by breaking the previous school record.

His mother, Samantha Tania Dole, said it was hard for her to let her son pursue his dreams. “At first it was a very difficult decision: the prospect of sending your only child away from home to another continent was heartbreaking,” she said via email. “But we put Anik’s future first, and put our selfish reasons aside… We knew he would do well in track in the U.S., so we encouraged him wholeheartedly to pursue his dream of studying in the U.S.”

Upon his arrival at Springfield College, Dole had zero issues assimilating within his newfound surroundings.

“My first thoughts of Anik were ‘This kid is very quiet and shy,’ which makes sense in hindsight. He [had] never been to this country in his life,” said junior Seth Regan, one of Dole’s roommates and closest teammates. “But he’s also very outgoing if you get to know him.”

Dole got off to a blistering start for the Pride in 2021, during his freshman year. His personal best in the 100-meter that year leveled at 10.84 at the NEWMAC 100-meter preliminary races. Later that day, he went on to win the 100-meter conference title, with a time of 10.91.

Dole with his relay teammates at a meet.

Hot off of a NEWMAC title, Dole and his teammates kept the gears churning on the track. In the spring of the following year in 2022, Dole and his 4×100 teammates earned a bid to compete at the DIII NCAA Championships at the Spire Institute in Ohio.

“Evan [Weber] was the first leg, I was the second leg, Mike [Scott] was the third, and Tyler [Hansen] was the fourth leg,” Dole said. “So that’s what brought us together, going to nationals for the same purpose. But all four of us have had a different journey to get there… We also knew this is the time to just live in the moment, and not to overthink everything.”

The night prior to their record-breaking preliminary run at the national meet, Dole said, “We were up talking. ‘All right, tomorrow’s the day we run at Nationals. So we either make it or we don’t make it. We got to put everything we got on the line.”

Scott described the magnitude of Dole’s influence on the team. “He might be hurting, there might be some other stuff going on in his head, but he was still smiling, like he was making sure everybody else was having a good time, he doesn’t take any of his negative emotions out on anybody else,” Scott said. “He’s always pushing people and being there for people, being a quality presence at all times.”

Photo Courtesy Springfield College Athletics

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