ECU Track and Field athletes reminisce on hard work at 2024 Olympic Trials

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The 2024 Summer Olympics is right around the corner, and for some athletes in the East, the games are bittersweet.

The Olympic Trials are a dream that turned into a reality for ECU Track and Field athletes Sydni McMillan and Melicia Mouzzon.

Udon Cheek, ECU Track and Field Assistant Coach says, “It’s impressive but the thing is, they planned for this. They wrote it down, they journaled it, they planned for it, and they confessed it on a regular basis. They told me at the beginning of the season that’s what they wanted. They didn’t just throw words out in hopes it’d hit the wall but they actually put the work in.”

The two competed in events like the 100m dash and 100m hurdles.

McMillan says, “I just like seeing all the pros, and of course, it was serious because we worked so hard for it but it was honestly the most relaxed I’ve felt at any of my races.”

“That’s been my dream since I was a kid and honestly, I did not know how I was going to get there but I just put my faith in God and put my faith in Coach Cheek,” Mouzzon also told WITN.

With every dream comes hard work, McMillan says. “Really 7 days out of the week because even rest and recovery plays a part so every day you’re working towards it.”

Cheek says it’s a lot of hard work for the athletes competing and the coaches training. “It’s very power-based, very posture-based, very rhythm-based. There’s a lot of filming that’s involved and just analyzing the film. A relationship of how to convey it. You know, you bring it forth, you make sure that they receive it, and then you get proof you know, when you see the product.”

Though McMillan and Mouzzon did not qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games, they say their Olympic journey is all a part of a bigger plan as they step into their futures of training to become professional athletes.

“I learned so much in those races and I got a message from the Lord so it allowed me to be happy regardless of the outcome because I know that I was on track to do something great but there’s greater ahead,” McMillan told WITN.

Mouzzon also says, “It’s taught me patience, it’s taught me how to trust God with everything I have in me, it’s taught me how to work… put your head down and work, and when you look up, the results will be there.”

As Mouzzon prepares for the next step in her track and field career, she says she’ll be moving to Florida to prepare and train to be a professional athlete which she says has been a life-long goal.

Coach Cheek and McMillan will also continue their track and field career at ECU before McMillan graduates with her master’s.

The Olympic Games will start on Friday, July 26th. You can watch all the excitement on WITN.