By Greg Dudek
During the middle of the indoor track and field season, sophomore Brian Espinosa was just another member of the team.
However, to the surprise of many, Espinosa exploded onto the track and field scene in the second half of the indoor season and now in the outdoor season.
“The success has meant a lot,” Espinosa said. “It just came out of nowhere.”
Espinosa came into the spotlight during the indoor postseason meets, earning All-ECAC and Division III All-New England honors in the 200-meter dash and long jump. He didn’t stop there, though. At the BSU Bears Invitational, the opening meet of the outdoor season, Espinosa captured four first place finishes in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, the long jump, and 4×100-meter relay.
“It was the first home meet and I was hyped up,” Espinosa said. “I came out here and did the best that I could do.”
He continued his stellar performance at the Snowflake Classic hosted by Tufts University this past weekend, winning the long jump event and coming in second in the 100-meter dash.
In the first two weeks of the season, Espinosa has captured Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week recognition twice.
“He has really taken off,” said freshman sprinter Andrew Couture. “He works harder than anybody on the team. He is not a captain yet, but I see him being one next year.”
The road to Bridgewater State University seemed unlikely from the start for Espinosa. As a freshman, he enrolled at Worcester State University and ran track and field there, before leaving the team and school due to an illness. He then attended Community College of Rhode Island, but took a year off from the sport.
Now at Bridgewater State, Espinosa said he realized how much he loved being out on the track.
“Not competing last year, I really missed it,” Espinosa said. “I wanted to compete again.”
With all the recent success, Espinosa has raised expectations for not only the rest of the season, but for his career.
“The sky’s the limit,” said track and field head coach Thomas Smith. “He not only wants to be the best on the team or in the MASCAC, he wants to be good on a national level.”
Smith added he expects Espinosa to make a run at the National Championship meet this season in the 200-meter dash.
Couture, who went to Dighton-Rehoboth High School with Espinosa, said Espinosa will be an All-American by the end of his career.
“He can do it,” said Couture of the pressure now put on Espinosa to accomplish these feats. “Pressure doesn’t faze him. He thrives under it.”
For Couture, being alongside his former high school teammate during this run is a worthwhile experience.
“To see my buddy, my best friend, go to nationals would be incredible,” Couture said. “We all want to make nationals, but obviously that’s not going to happen. But to see Brian do it would be special.”
By the end of May, Espinosa hopes he will make the trip out to Wisconsin, where he can compete in the National Championships.
“That’s the goal, but it is not going to be easy,” Espinosa said. “It’s going to take a lot of work.”