My time spent at the U was slight compared to most others telling their story of how much their experience on the track and field team affected their lives, but as the adage goes, quality over quantity. My one year as a golden gopher came by way of a singular outdoor season of eligibility in 2016 as a grad transfer from a small division III school. Coach Plasencia and Coach Reder decided to take a chance on me by offering me a spot on the team, for which I am eternally grateful. I had hopes of using my time at Minnesota as a stepping stone for a professional career in hammer throwing, and my expectations were blown out of the water as that incredible year served to be a launch pad rather than just a small stepping stone. All the experiences that the track and field program had to offer lead me from an unknown division III 'wanna-be' of sorts, to being a legitimate contender for a spot on the olympic team in 2016. Here I am, 4 years later, still chasing that dream with a very legitimate shot. The lessons and experiences I cultivated while at the U, both during my time on the team, and my first year post-collegiate still training at the U, helped me become not just the athlete, but the man I am today. The vital skills of hard work, integrity, and teamwork that I learned during my career as a golden gopher are ones that I will carry forward into every phase of my life.

It was heartbreaking to hear the news about the track team getting cut, because I just imagined all of the opportunities that young men like me would miss out on. No longer would unassuming young track and field athletes like myself be able to come to the University of Minnesota and learn from the rich history and culture that the program has cultivated over the 130 years of it's existence, the culture that helped me and many other young men flourish, athletically and professionally. I hope some solution may come about to save the men's track and field program so that I can still be proud to call myself a golden gopher.