Athletes of the week: Dowler and Roundtree break records to start season

Mar. 11—With our new process, powered by Copper Creek Contractors, Braydon Dowler of the Villa Grove boys' track and field team and Izzy Roundtree of the Champaign Central girls' track and field team are this week's winners.

Braydon Dowler — Villa Grove boys' track and field

Why he's Athlete of the Week: Dowler won the Charleston Indoor Invite 400-meter dash with a time of 52.60 seconds and placed second in the 200-meter dash behind Salt Fork's Brysen Vasquez. Dowler's 200 time of 23-31 seconds set a new Blue Devil indoor record for the event, the second time in as many weeks he broke that record, which he set last season.

From Dowler: "I was pumped because I didn't know until Monday afternoon that I was even on the list (for Athlete of the Week). When I found out I had won it, I was pumped to hear about it. ... I hope to keep that ball rolling. So far, every meet, I've broken (the 200 record). ... I feel like this year of all years, our team actually has a drive. Something really lit a fire under us, and I feel like our team actually has a drive to win. So far, it's showed, and we've been doing good things with it."

My favorite movie is ... "Freddy Got Fingered." I enjoy this movie because it's really dumb. Extremely, extremely dumb. It is a dumb one, but that's what makes it funny.

My favorite music genre is ... literally anything.

If I could have any superpower, it would be ... the ability to stop time would be a cool one. You could literally do anything. If you were late on a homework assignment, you could stop time, do it, and then you were never late.

Something that's on my bucket list is ... No. 1 right now is to take over the school's 400-meter record, which I'm not far away from. It's right there, and I'm hoping to beat it next week. And I want to out-hot-dog-eat Joey Chestnut. Years of training, but that's on the agenda.

My biggest pet peeve is ... when people eat and just smack their lips chewing with their mouth open. That drives me insane.

My favorite track memory is ... breaking that 200-meter record for the very first time last year. That's one I'm not going to forget.

My favorite athlete is ... John Daly.

Before a race ... I really pump myself up because I get so nervous before any race, but I try to stay calm. About 20 minutes before that event starts, I'll try to get some blood to my legs and get them moving. After I'm warmed up, if there are heats prior to me, I'll just sit there and tune out everything. Every time that gun goes off, I'll take some strides like I'm coming out of the blocks so I can get the timing down.

After a meet ... I'd like to get some food, but I cannot eat after I run. If I have any teammates who still have events after me, I'll definitely stay to watch them. If it's a shorter sprint, that's pretty much it. But if it's like the 400, that's usually a little bit more of a violent race, so I'll take some time to cool down and stretch to make sure I'm going to recover after that race.

In five years ... I'm planning on going into nursing and becoming a nurse. I want to do that, and as soon as I can, I want to come back to Villa Grove and help coach the track team. We don't have very fortunate facilities over at Villa Grove. Our track is just an asphalt ring, but we do pretty well with what we're given. I want to give back more and help so we can take Villa Grove to the next level and see what we can really do.

Athlete of the Week finalists: Luke Landrus, St. Joseph-Ogden basketball; Voldy Makabu, Centennial track and field; Brysen Vasquez, Salt Fork track and field.

Izzy Roundtree — Champaign Central girls' track and field

Why she's Athlete of the Week: Roundtree competed against some of the best talent in the state at the Cabin Fever Invite in Chicago, and she placed fifth in both the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Her 60 time of 7.82 seconds in the prelims set a new Maroon record, and her 200 time of 25.57 seconds is second on Central's all-time list. Roundtree also led off the Maroons' 800-meter relay, which also marked the program's second-best time ever at 1 minute, 47.19 seconds.

From Roundtree: "I'm very excited to get this opportunity, and I appreciate being nominated. I want to thank my coaches because they helped get me to where I am today. ... We were really excited to get this season started. We've been waiting, and it was my first meet back from my injury back in November. My teammates and parents have really helped me get to where I am. When I first saw my time (in the 60), I was really excited because I knew it was a school record."

My favorite movie is ... "Murder Mystery" 1 and 2, and I guess my favorite TV show is "Friends." It's really funny to me, and I like to watch it a lot.

My favorite music genre is ... R&B. Whether it's in the car or at school, that's what I most listen to.

If I could have any superpower, it would be ... teleportation because I don't like to be late, so it would get me where I need to be on time.

Something that's on my bucket list is ... I've always wanted to go to Paris, France, since I was a kid.

My biggest pet peeve is ... when I'm still trying to sleep in the morning and my sister tries to talk to me and wakes me up.

My favorite track memory is ... this summer, I got the opportunity to compete in Eugene, Oregon, for the Junior Olympics for my Vipers track club. It was really cool to be on the same track as Olympic athletes.

My favorite sports team is ... my Vipers track club.

Before a race ... I always start with my sprint drills and shake out my legs to get my legs warm. I think about what my coach has been telling me. I go line up in front of my blocks, and I do my routine that I do every time.

After a meet ... I usually find my coach and ask him for some feedback and input from my race. And I drink a lot of water because I obviously don't want to drink a ton before my race. I just put my warmups back on and reflect on what I've done for the day.

In five years ... I plan to run track in college and study something in the medical field. I also want to maybe break a few more school records and run some events at state.

Athlete of the Week finalists: Noelle Hunt, Centennial track and field; Briana Ritchie, Unity track and field; Nickiya Shields, Danville track and field.