When I started experiencing success in distance running during high school, it became my dream to represent my home state at the highest level. Like many others, I turned down significantly higher offers to attend the University of Minnesota as a small scholarship student-athlete because I wanted the honor of wearing the ""M"" on my chest. Visiting Minnesota was an experience like no other, and I knew I had found my home. My coaches and teammates quickly became my family and in both my successes and trials they helped me grow in confidence, resiliency, and love for the sport. Years of shared miles shaped me into the person I am today and left me with my closest friends, a lifelong sport, and eventually my husband.

Seven years after graduating, I still meet up on a weekly basis with former teammates to run. We wake up early, lace up our shoes and hit the roads together. We process life as we share miles because this sport and the family it creates are a part of our lives forever.

Track and Field brings people together from all parts of the world. It celebrates diversity and provides opportunities to first generation college students and underrepresented minority students. I've seen this play out in the lives of my teammates and youth involved in running programs across the Twin Cities and state. It would be devastating to see the University of Minnesota step down from being an integral part of this and for future generations to be robbed of the opportunities track and field can provide. We can and must do better!