The UNC Asheville track and field team is a close-knit group of students who have bonded over the sport.
“My closest friends at school are on the team. Not only do we practice and have this sport together, but it has bonded us more than I thought. My friends here are considered my family,” said sophomore health and wellness student Victor Mathuthu. “The fact that I love tracking makes me want to be out there everyday practicing and getting better.”
Originally from Zimbabwe, Mathuthu said he loves the people he has met on the team.
“Track is just something that I found fun and interesting to me. I feel like I am good at track and I like seeing how I get better at every meet and practice,” said Mathuthu.
One of Mathuthu’s closest friends on the team is junior health and wellness student Desire Brown. Brown is a sprinter on the team.
“Track is important to me for sure, because that is why I am here. I came to UNC Asheville for the track program, and also for me. My family have always been big supporters of my running and they think that running is my gift, so that means being here and trying my hardest every time I am out there, because it makes me feel powerful to keep pushing myself and try my hardest when I am out there,” Brown said.
Junior economics student athlete Tyree McFalling is another sprinter on the team.
“I have been doing track for about eight years and I have stuck with it because I like pushing myself. In track, it is all about pushing yourself and trying to make yourself the best version of the person you can be. I am working against myself and every race to beat myself and be better coming out,” McFalling said.
McFalling and Brown said their favorite race to run at a meet is the 400.
“I definitely prefer the 400 over the 200 because I feel like I am better at that race and I feel like if you mess up in that one it is easier to fix since you have more distance to go and distance to change the results and regain yourself,” Brown said.
The competitors on the team discussed how running is something they like to do because they feel like they are good at it.
“If you have a talent, it is important to use it to the best of your ability and track makes me want to do and be the best at anything and everything that I do,” McFalling said. “I am a sprinter which, I love and I run the 400 and 200, but mostly the 400 because it feels easier than the 200 to me because it feels less technical and I feel like I can just go out there and run my hardest.”
Mathuthu explained how track and field is an individual sport, so working toward a win is for you and not as much for the team.
“When I win I feel blessed and on top of the world, because it really is not easy to win. It really feels like an achievement and it is one of the greatest moments ever, because there are thousands and thousands of people out there doing track so only a few people can win, so when you do it is just the best and really something special,” Mathuthu said.
Brown agrees with Mathuthu on the idea of winning for herself in a way of helping the team at meets. She said winning individually impacts her more than it would if it was more of a team sport.
“Winning feels great because after all these workouts and all these practices it finally feels like something is paying off like doing that extra rep or making sure your arm is high enough when you get out of the box and do everything to the best of my ability,” Brown said.