Track and field brought me many places, but the most impactful was to the University of Minnesota. Steve Plascencia was the first college coach call my phone, and something about the program and the way he spoke felt different. I toured a number of great schools, including several Big 10 programs, but something about the U of MN was special. Something about the legacy, the athletes and the coaches was special. I turned down a full ride scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota because the legacy of being on the Gophers meant something more to me.

I am not from Minnesota, but I came to this state to compete the for Gophers and I stayed here after graduation. I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be who I am without the Track and Field program at the U. I was exposed to so many perspectives and cultures I never would have had the honor to experience otherwise. I would never have had the opportunity to grow into the person I am today without Gopher Track and Field. I know the same and more is true for every single one of my teammates. This program is about individuals who make the 6:30am workouts worth it and teammates who hold each other accountable and lift each other up. I am writing this so that the experiences and privilege's I had being a member of the Track and Field team don't die out. So that the next generation can succeed and be provided the same opportunities that I was. Men's track and field provides people with so much more than a jersey and spikes, it opens doors to people and it doesn't care where you came from or what you look like.

My entire tenure with the team I saw the Track and Field team get the short end of the stick. The athletic department announced they were tearing our track down within weeks of arriving on campus my freshmen year. I watched our team get passed up for locker room renovations, and I saw how we got our weight room slots bumped anytime a different team wanted to use the facility. I also saw how we consistently had excellent GPAs, consistent athletic success and consistent resilience to anything thrown our way. Being a member of the track and field team was not easy. We were not catered to, but we didn't need to be. Track and field requires intrinsic motivations - we don't compete for glory, money or fame. We compete for ourselves, our teammates and our collective legacy. This is the legacy that we are fighting to preserve, the legacy that goes beyond every individual. Competing for the Gophers is more than just times, distances and heights. It is about being a part of something bigger than ourselves, a value greater than the sum of its parts. This team has taken in hundreds of young men and molded them into productive, accomplished and resilient college graduates. This is the legacy that we fight to preserve.