The USATF Annual Meeting
“Be what you want to be all of the time” – David Oliver
I had the opportunity to attend the USATF Annual Meeting this past weekend. And my eyes have officially been opened to the world of track and field in the United States. I was so impressed with the athletes that made the commitment to attend the meeting – the stars of our sport are working tirelessly to improve and enhance the state of track and field in the United States. Every time I walked into a room I knew that I was in the presence of greatness. I met some of the most decorated athletes in the world—people that I have looked up to and continue to look up to. And I realized how people like Ann Gaffigan and Amy Yoder Begley (one of my own personal heroines) champion Track and Field every day.
A few months ago I applied for the Post Collegiate Scholarship Fund. This USATF grant is awarded to athletes who are one to two years out of college and who have achieved the Olympic A Standard. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012 and ran 15:10 in the 5k this past year so I submitted my application. I was soon notified that I had received the scholarship and I would be attending the Annual Meeting. Heading into the weekend I had no idea what to expect.
Our Emerging Elite symposium met on Friday and Saturday morning. Both mornings were jam packed with meetings. Incredible speakers came to our symposium and I left each meeting with a brand new tool set. We had the chance to interact with public speaking specialists, financial advisors, and a USADA representative. Duffy Mahoney, Dr. Robert Chapman, and Rose Monday introduced us to all of the resources that are available to athletes. The fabulous and eloquent Michelle Carter also came and talked to us about professionalism and what it means to be on team USA: “Team USA — that’s bigger than you.” David Oliver, Dan O’Brien, and Michelle Carter also served as an athlete panel to answer any questions we had about professional track and field. All of the top athletes emphasized how important it is to be a positive, contributing member of the sport.
Brian Pilcher, one of my training partners, also won the Master’s Athlete of the Year. He was honored at the Jesse Owens Award Banquet and I was very proud to watch him accept his much-deserved award. He is an American Record Holder in multiple events and continues to break new running barriers in all of the races he runs.
I left the Annual Meeting feeling incredibly proud to be involved in the sport of Track and Field. And I was profoundly inspired by all of the athletes who advocate for positive change while simultaneously competing at the top of their game.