"What does being a University of Minnesota Track and Field team member mean to me? I grew up in a small town in norther Minnesota, where I ran track and cross country throughout high school. I loved both sports and planned to make running a lifelong endeavor. I never really imagined myself competing as a Gopher. That seemed like something completely unattainable, and in my mind was really only a dream. I was very fortunate however; and through hard work and dedication I had a successful senior year in cross country and track, and was offered a scholarship late in the year from Coach Griak. I accepted and couldn’t wait to join the team.

I accepted the offer and went to the U for one reason and one reason only. I wanted to run track. XC too, but I looked at XC as a way to train for track. I was a middle distance runner and XC wasn’t my strength, but it made me better on the track, and ultimately I loved to run so I gave it my all in both sports.

The decision to go to the U completely changed my life for the better. I had some minor successes on the track, but what I gained off the track from being a part of the team and a great program was even greater and has stayed with me my entire life. There were so many experiences and wonderful memories we had as a team. We still talk about them every time we all get together, which we still do almost 30 years later. I met my best friend and many other life long friends who I know would be there for me if ever needed in a heart beat…true friends…brothers. I learned the importance of an education and went on to gain an MBA at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. Finally, and most importantly, I started my professional career working at the UMN for seven years after college where I met my wife who I now have two amazing children with. None of this would have happened had it not been for the University of Minnesota Track and Field program.

I’m just one person, but the idea that this will no longer be an option for so many athletes around the world, but specifically to Minnesota athletes is devastating. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the friends I made and the life lessons I learned running for the U of MN. My years there were some of my best. We need to keep this opportunity available for others.

So, let me answer the question that I started with. What does being a University of Minnesota track team member mean to me? It means everything. Everything I have today is inextricably linked to my being a Gopher Track and Field team member. Do not take that away from other young aspiring runners in Minnesota that want to be a Gopher too. "