Eschinger a Strong Middle-Distance Athlete for Lebanon Valley Track and Field
Making the transition from a high school sport to participating at the collegiate level on a much bigger stage can sometimes come with self-doubt and nerves due to the added commitment and pressure. For McKendry “Mac” Eschinger, this process appeared to be seamless, as he served as an integral piece to the Lebanon Valley College indoor track and field team this winter.
The Guilford native is currently in his junior year at Lebanon Valley College (LVC) and has been competing at the Division III level for the Flying Dutchmen. This past winter, he was part of a team that turned in its best finish in program history at the Middle Atlantic Conference Indoor Championships, placing second overall.
“I have been competing in track and field for five years now, starting my sophomore year of high school. It was a definite challenge for me. Going to a college four hours away from home the year that COVID peaked was a massive change in all parts of my life,” says McKendry. “However, the cross country and track team here at LVC very quickly became family and the exact support I needed for college. I have made life-long friends here at LVC.”
McKendry competes in events that start at 800 meters, and he is now going up to the 10 kilometer race this season. On Dec. 9, he competed at the Diplomat Open in the 3000 meters and the 800 meters, where he hit a season record in both events. McKendry finished with a time of 10:18.93 in the 3000 (10th place) and 2:10.87 in the 800 (18th place).
Because McKendry is also a member of the cross country and outdoor track and field teams at LVC, staying healthy for year-round training can be tough because of the constant activity his body endures.
“This past year has been my most challenging year. Each of my seasons (fall, winter, and now spring) have been riddled with small injuries or sickness that have set me back considerably,” says McKendry. “Despite this, my team and coaches have been there supporting me through everything.”
LVC indoor track Head Coach Melissa Byler has seen McKendry face these small injuries during his tenure but admires his constant positivity and ability to always make people laugh and have fun during practice.
“Mac has been a great addition to our family and has made a positive impact on our middle-distance relays. He works hard in the classroom, gets along well with teammates, and is such a pleasure to have on our team,” says Byler. “His sense of humor always keeps me on the edge of my seat and brings a light-hearted air to practice at much-needed times.”
On Jan. 13, McKendry competed in two events at the Lebanon Valley Indoor meet, setting season records in both races. Those events included the 400 meters and the one mile race. In the 400, he finished fifteenth overall with a time of 59.90. In the mile, he finished in 14th place with a time of 5:08.69.
Last spring, during the outdoor track season, McKendry competed in the 4x800 relay race at the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) Track and Field Championships. Members of the relay also included Andrew Loy, Vince Ferrizzi, and Alec Di. Despite having the ability to compete in such a big competition last spring, McKendry did not compete well at the MAC Indoor Championships this winter, yet he was proud of the way his teammates showed out on that stage.
“My most memorable meet was our Mid-Atlantic Conference Championships where, although I didn’t compete well, my teammates excelled in everything,” says McKendry. “I was able to cheer until my voice was lost and see my teammates and friends’ successes.”
In the 2020-’21 outdoor track season, McKendry competed at the MAC Outdoor Championships in the 4x800 relay with Loy, Cole Lehman, and Ferrizzi. What made this race so significant was that McKendry and his teammates were part of the eighth-fastest 4x800 relay in Lebanon Valley school history.
As McKendry looks to prepare for the spring season on the track, he reflects on his indoor season and hopes to continue to improve his individual race times and be the best leader he can be for his fellow Dutchmen.
“I sadly did not hit any PRs this past year; however, I’m hoping to make big strides in the upcoming season(s),” says McKendry. “I am looking forward to being the best teammate and athlete I can be for myself and, most importantly, for my team.”