The Davidson hallmarks of athletic excellence and academic rigor found another record-setting champion in the person of track star Demetrios Pagonis ’13.
In recent seasons, Wildcat sports fans have joked that Davidson’s record-setting athletes had better not get complacent, as their teammates were coming up fast behind them to achieve new milestones. Last year, Ryan Hopkins ’12 essentially rewrote the men’s track and field record books to become Davidson’s best distance runner of all-time. Observers pegged Pagonis as a candidate to challenge the new record—he did not disappoint!
Though hampered by health issues during the cross country season, Pagonis was ready to run by spring—and how. As Hopkins did last year before them, Pagonis and middle-distance runner Andrew Lantz ’14 qualified for the NCAA Regionals strictly on time in 2012.
Pagonis did it by breaking Hopkins’ record in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 29 minutes, 32.58 seconds. He also broke Hopkins’ outdoor 5,000-meter run and swept the 5K and 10K events at the SoCon Championships—the first Wildcat ever to do so.
Meanwhile, Pagonis kept his mind on his studies. The chemistry major carried an exceptionally high grade point average throughout his career, wracking up weekly and annual Southern Conference academic and athletic awards. Following his sophomore year, he earned Davidson College’s Porter Vinson Chemistry Award, which is given annually to a rising junior who shows unusual mastery of the field of chemistry. As a senior, he was one of four Davidson student-athletes to earn recognition for exceptional academic and athletic performance as part of the Northwestern Mutual Student-Athlete Spotlight.
Pagonis’ graduation from Davidson in May marked another opportunity for athletes and sports enthusiasts alike to muse about who might fill his shoes, and what’s next on the horizon for a talented track and field team that just keeps topping itself.