UMW senior Frank DeVar has been one of the prominent athletes at Mary Washington in the past 15 years. At the NCAA Division III National Championships on Nov. 21, DeVar placed 16th in a field of 276 runners to earn Division III All-American honors.
DeVar is the first men’s UMW cross country runner to become an All-American since Jon Gates back in 1996, and he was very happy with his accomplishment.
“It’s pretty cool. It took a while to sink in, but it’s given me some more motivation for track.” DeVar said. “Winning conferences is cool but its been kind of a goal throughout my life to become an All-American.”
The senior described his final cross country race as an Eagle and mentioned how strange it was to run at Nationals because of the uptick in competition and that instead of running in packs of five to 10 guys, he was running in a huge pack of 50 guys.
DeVar accomplished his goal of becoming an All-American with his outstanding performance two weeks ago, but that one great achievement is not all that defines the outstanding runner. DeVar won the CAC Rookie of the Year back in 2006; he was a three-time member of the men’s cross country All-CAC first team; and he was twice the CAC Runner of the Year. But despite all of his great achievements throughout his career, DeVar remains a team guy.
“From a team standpoint, [the season] was good and bad. We won conference for the first time in five or six years, but our No. 2 guy, Jason Driscoll, got mono and if he hadn’t got mono we probably would have qualified for nationals as a team,” DeVar said.
Despite the loss of Driscoll, the Eagles still had a great cross country season and with spring approaching DeVar looks ahead to his final track and field season.
“The track team is looking good. Salisbury puts in a lot more points then us in the sprints and jumps and we are more distance based, but we are hoping we can sneak in some points in sprints and jumps and the distance team should really put up a lot of points this year. If everything clicks we can probably take the title this year.”
The talented runner is not just looking ahead to the track season, but he is looking further ahead to possible immortality once he leaves the university: the Mary Washington Hall of Fame. DeVar said that he would like to be inducted and that if he gets All-American in track this spring, he thinks he has a shot. It seems safe to say that he will certainly be extra motivated to try and reach that goal.
The aforementioned Gates is enshrined in the UMW Hall of Fame, and when asked who would win a race between he and Gates, with both runners in their primes, DeVar simply said, “I’d say a 5K would be even ground, and it would be close, but if it came down to the last lap I think I could take him.”
You need confidence to be a great cross country runner, and DeVar was both confident and great in his four years at Mary Washington. He says that he plans to go and get his masters in education and he fancies the idea of becoming a teacher and coaching at the high school level.
The phenomenal runner that he is, it seems as though DeVar would indeed make a great coach. I can assure you that Stan Soper, both the cross country and track & field coach, will be hard pressed to replace a runner of the caliber of Frank DeVar. He will surely be missed.