“People who doubt me inspire me.”
From his high school career to his third-place finish at the 2012 Sunshine State Conference Championship Meet, this statement has come to define the cross country career of Florida Southern College’s David Tomchinsky.
While he maintains a level head, Tomchinsky relishes the opportunity to silence his doubters.
“I don’t use it to build myself up or anything,” Tomchinsky said. “It’s just like, if you want to doubt me, go ahead and I’ll prove you wrong.”
Although he has silenced most of his doubters on his way to becoming an All-SSC runner, athletics did not always come naturally for Tomchinsky. In high school, he was cut from the baseball and football teams because of his small stature.
“I was in eighth grade and was cut from the football team before we even started practice. Then I didn’t make the baseball team and it killed me,” Tomchinsky said.
Additional doubters came in the form of Tomchinsky’s classmates, who tormented him for his athletic shortcomings.
“For a while I was wondering what I was doing wrong,” Tomchinsky said. “I was just trying to play a sport and [the way they treated me] really bothered me.”
Fortunately, Tomchinsky discovered cross-country, where his size was not a setback, but an asset.
“I didn’t even know about distance running. I was trying to be a sprinter until I saw a mile race at my school. I thought, ‘these kids are going slow. I can beat them.’ The next week, I asked if I could run with the [distance] team and it just came naturally,” Tomchinsky said.
The combination of intense training and Tomchinsky’s self-described hyper energy led to a successful high school career, which brought many college suitors. Tomchinsky ultimately chose FSC for the family atmosphere he felt on his visit.
“I had heard about Florida Southern and saw the tradition. Then once I met the team I was sold. The guys here now, and even guys who graduated, will be my friends forever,” Tomchinsky said. “They are my brothers.”
Tomchinsky’s third-place finish helped him and his cross-country brothers to a second-place finish in the SSC Championships. Tomchinsky is proud of his team’s performance.
“Nova Southeastern, who beat us, is fully funded with 13 full scholarships to give out,” Tomchinsky said. “So the fact that they only beat us by six points shows that we’ve been working really hard.”
Although he was impressed with the result, Tomchinsky was still frustrated by the team’s second consecutive second-place finish.
“After losing our coach last year—and a couple of good runners—it was like all odds were against us, so the fact that we finished second is impressive, but it’s still really frustrating,” Tomchinsky said.
Fortunately for the Mocs, they have another opportunity approaching in the NCAA South Regional Meet on Nov. 3. A strong finish in the meet could land the Mocs a spot in the NCAA Division II Championship.
Tomchinsky is very ambitious heading into the race.
“We have to have a good race, but with the way we’ve been training I feel really good about our chances,” Tomchinsky said.
Even if the Mocs don’t qualify for nationals as a team, there is still room for FSC runners to qualify individually. The top three runners that are not on a qualifying team are rewarded a spot in the national championships.
Tomchinsky has his sights set on reaching nationals, one way or another.
“This is our Super Bowl. Getting to nationals would be awesome, especially with all the adversity we’ve faced,” Tomchinsky said.
“It’s there. We just have to go take it.”