Well, it’s that time of year again—graduation is drawing near and it’s time to say goodbye. There are seven athletes from the Portland State track team who have exhausted their eligibility, five of whom will be walking during spring graduation.
On the right track
Well, it’s that time of year again—graduation is drawing near and it’s time to say goodbye. There are seven athletes from the Portland State track team who have exhausted their eligibility, five of whom will be walking during spring graduation. The seven seniors are: Nathan Endicott, Andrew Slag, Adrienne Davis, Mikeya Nicholson, Karissa Fuller, Katie Blue and Malissa Anthony.
From a coaching standpoint it is difficult to watch seniors leave the program, especially when the group leaving is bursting with talent and full of leadership.
“We have a great group of seniors, so it will be really hard to say goodbye,” said assistant coach Cassie Stilley. “It’s a real accomplishment to stay committed and focused on your goals for four or five years. I know all the coaches sincerely thank the seniors who have been able to do just that.”
Seniors Endicott, Davis and Slag sat down and shared about their experiences at Portland State. Endicott had the longest Viking career, a total of five years, and he said a lot about the program and the many ways it helped him.
“Having athletics is a good outlet for stress or just getting away from school,” Endicott said. “It also helps you with being driven and dedicated, ’cause you have to show up for practice, you have to be on time, you have to turn in your homework on time, and [ensure] it’s complete on time. I think that will definitely carry into my work ethics after school.”
Endicott will be graduating with a civil engineering degree and hopes to pursue work in the water resources engineering field. As for further track plans, he said his running career is mostly over due to the fact that his body can’t handle more than seven years of hard, competitive distance running, but he’s looking into doing something less physical, impactive activity such as cycling.
Davis, who has been with PSU for about two years, also commented on how the program helped her, especially as an athlete and within her field of work.
“I feel like I’ve got a really well-rounded training as an athlete. When I came here, I really took in nutrition and eating better than what I did at community college,” Davis said. “Another part of being an athlete here that I really liked was the life skills and networking events that we have.”
Davis, who is a photographer, recalled that at a job fair for student athletes one of the academic advisors, Rashad Floyd, made sure a photographer was there so she could have someone to talk to. Davis said it was great because she was able to make connections and gain resources to help her begin a photography business in the future, which is her goal after graduation.
As for continuing track after school, she said that she would like to continue training somewhere and possibly enter meets as an unattached athlete.
Lastly, Slag took a different spin on the question and discussed how his teammates helped him become the person he is today.
“I have to say, they helped me find out who I was a little bit more, what I actually probably liked more, and probably influenced me a little bit more on how I do general things in my life,” Slag said with a smile.
Slag’s post graduation plans are to head back home to Van Nuys, Calif., and get his teaching credentials. He also has a job lined up as an assistant coach at a high school. As for competition, he said he would like to continue running if possible in the future.
In the end, all three graduating seniors had nothing but positive things to say about their final year as a Viking. Sure, all of them experienced bumps along the way, but overall, no one felt disappointed with how their collegiate careers turned out. In fact, many athletes, including Slag, felt the experience exceeded their expectations.
For those who are still in the program now, or who are looking to join, here are some words of advice from those who have been there and done that.
“Everything is pretty much is what you make it, it is what you put in,” Endicott offered. “You can have a ‘no expectation’ attitude, just say ‘I’m going to put in my best and enjoy it the best I can.’ That’s kind of a good attitude and approach to athletics, it’s not being the most driven person ever, and athletics is not for everyone.”
Slag added, “If you feel like you did all you could do, that’s pretty much all you could have done then. You don’t want to leave a school or a program thinking you’ve failed in someway when you could have thought you could have done a little bit more.”
As for Davis, she suggests that student athletes maintain their focus.
“You can always have fun and get involved with stuff, but there are certain things that can distract you from being a successful student athlete and accomplishing your goals,” Davis said. “Have fun and keep your grades up.” ?