On Feb. 3, the Reykjavik International Games were held in Reykjavik, Iceland. It’s a very prestigious sports event that hosts athletes from all over the world and contains many different sports, such as track and field, swimming, gymnastics, and many more. SJC’s own Mordecai McDaniel ’20 was invited to compete in the games and represent the United States, as well as St. John’s.
McDaniel was selected by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) to compete. The NSAF is a well-known organization that most notably hosts the New Balance High School Indoor and Outdoor Championships, both big events in the track world. McDaniel was selected out of all the high school athletes in the country to form a team of only eight (four girls and four boys), which shows how selective the team was. More importantly, it highlights his position among the top high school runners in the country. He said this was a “very big deal for him.”
Although McDaniel and the rest of the athletes were each highly accomplished runners, they had not yet run together as a team. The team was formed back in early 2019; however, they didn’t really practice much together before departing for Iceland on Feb. 1. Despite not training together, McDaniel said that they “had no problem working together and had good experience with each other.” He added that “everybody on the team was really nice and easy to work with, so it made it an easy transition to running with this new team.”
On speaking about the event itself, as well as Iceland, he said that “it’s a very different culture…It’s basically like walking into a new world.” He said the main difference was that “they obviously spoke a different language,” and as one can imagine, it can be difficult to adjust. However, he enjoyed visiting the city of Reykjavík, which is also the capital of Iceland, and everything that was in it. He went on to add that they “were basically treated like they were famous over there.”
As for meet day itself, McDaniel enjoyed having the opportunity to compete in a new country. People from various countries came together to participate in the event, and he said that “come meet day, it was cool to be running against people from England, Ireland, Iceland, and all over the world.” Overall, he said he “definitely had a good experience.”
It was an extremely successful weekend for McDaniel and the US team. He won his 400-meter heat, and his 4x200m relay team took home gold in their event as well. He did a great job representing the US and St. John’s alike.