By BEN JOHNSON
Quincy McDowell is no stranger to back pain. His backside has been giving him fits every since his days at Tahlequah High School.
Yet, he shrugged it off this past weekend in Norman to qualify for the NCCAA Indoor Championship. The former Tiger finished 16th in the 200-meter dash at the Oklahoma Baptist Indoor Invitational and will now compete against some of the nation’s best in indoor track and field this weekend.
“If felt great to qualify,” said McDowell, a sophomore at Southwestern Christian University, “just to know I’m getting healthier this year than I was last year, and to be going back to compete for a national championship.”
McDowell will be on the national stage Friday and Saturday in Marion, Ind. It will be his second straight trip to the national indoor finals after reaching the event last year in the 60-meter dash.
In 2012, McDowell finished 14th at the national meet , and this year his goal is to crack the top 10.
“I want to at least crack the top eight this year,” he said.
In order to do that, he’ll have to cast his back pain aside — much like he has done since the beginning of his varsity career.
“I was battling the back injury I had in high school, except it had gotten worse throughout college,” said McDowell, whose qualifying time in the 200-meter dash was 23.81 seconds. “But I just deal with the pain and tough it out.”
McDowell said there is only one solution to alleviate the back pain — but it will have to wait for a couple of years.
“It’s genetic,” he said, “and [it] will require surgery for the pain to completely go away.”
McDowell said he plans on going through with the operation after his college career is over. But until then, he will continue to follow a strict regiment to ease the discomfort.
“Just stretch a lot at practice,” McDowell said. “I usually stretch for a good 20-25 minutes before starting a workout. And I take pain medication, and I see the university’s trainer at least three times a week.”
Considering the back pain, McDowell finds satisfaction with each accomplishment throughout his career.
“It gives me confidence knowing that I’m capable of when my back is close to 100 percent,” McDowell said.