I have had a unique experience with Gopher men’s track and field. I grew up submerged into the team through my dad’s coaching job, and now I have competed for the team for the last five years. Growing up, I met a lot of guys on the team. When I was really little, the guys on the team were my babysitters. I didn’t care about their performances or accomplishments on the track, I only cared that they were nice and would make me mac n cheese. But as I grew up, and started to commit myself to athletics, I began to realize that the guys I took for granted were borderline superheroes. I realized that the times that guys like Hassan Mead, Ben Blankenship, and Harun Abda ran on the track were nontrivial. Yet I never would have known how incredible of athletes they were just from meeting them. These men were role models to me – examples of how to have success yet stay grounded. True leaders.

I can say without a doubt in my mind that I have grown tremendously as a person due to my experience on our men’s track and field team. There have been so many positives for me. I have been introduced to my best friends. I have had meaningful experiences with people of color and guys from backgrounds different than mine, which had been previously lacking in my life. I have experienced success on the track, and in the classroom. There have also been many “negatives”. I have experienced defeat on the track. I have battled through injury. I have bled, sweat, and cried. I once aqua jogged in a freezing cold pool for two hours. I have struggled tremendously as a part of Gophers men’s track and field, and that is why I can say I am better prepared for the rest of my life.

My experience as a Gopher men’s track athlete has been the highlight of my life thus far. I am vastly more prepared to be a leader in my community from my time as a Gopher. It absolutely crushes me that there is a proposal which would rob the experience that I have had from future Gophers. We must reject the proposal to eliminate men’s track and field.