Commentary by Andy Eggerth
As the head track and field coach at KSU, I believe it’s my duty to advocate for my student-athletes. It was beyond disappointing for 80+ student-athletes when the “Best of KSU” edition came out.
We talk regularly of the importance of our student-athletes being a class act in the classroom, in competition, and in the community because they represent all 30,000 students at KSU. Unfortunately the students are not aware of how well they are represented.
These student-athletes have no off-season as training begins the first day of school in mid-August and goes until 5 weeks after school lets out in the spring. Multiple continue into the late summer competing at the US Championships or for Team USA at international competitions. They are in the weight room at 5:45am and finish their lifting before the sun has risen. They train a second time for 2-3 more hours on the track each day. Often travelling 3-4 days/week for competition they are still held accountable to maintain a high quality academic performance. On weekends not competing, they are serving the community. The men have performed over 17 hours of community service per athlete this year.
This discipline, dedication, and extremely hard work has yielded unprecedented results. The women’s team has consistently been top 2 at the A-Sun Championship, including multiple individual conference champions this year such as Maileka Slayton- 200m, 400m, Kidan Kidane- 3k, mile, Jordan Gray- pentathlon, De’Von Johnson- long jump, and Shakedra Robinson- high jump. The women are currently ranked top 100 in the nation with Marija Bogavac ranked top 10 in the nation in the javelin throw.
This senior class of men have been perfect their entire career as they have never lost a conference championship. 7 straight titles, with #8 on its way in 3 weeks! They are successful way beyond the conference level, being ranked top 25 in all of DI this year and last. This team has been led by the likes of Bilal Abdullah, the only two-time 1st team All-American in KSU history for any sport. And Andre Dorsey, the only five-time 2nd team All-American in KSU history; the only athlete in the nation to be ranked top 10 and compete at the NCAA Championship in 3 different events. Both of these guys have already qualified for the outdoor NCAA Championship this year to add even more accolades to their name. These are unparalleled results. What’s more is that these are not simply tremendous athletes, but incredible people of character and class.
For these teams and student-athletes to be overlooked is tragic to me. Not only these, but other Olympic Sports. The men’s golf team won the A-Sun Championship this year. Clara Aveling of the women’s golf team was the Conference champion over 35 competitors. This is an outstanding feat that deserves greater recognition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from our other sports. I am a season ticket holder for football and love seeing them have a winning season their first year in existence. The run volleyball made in the Conference tournament was awesome and I look forward to the championships that Coach Schunzel will soon bring. I am eternally grateful for the recognition that Dr. Papp and Vaughn Williams bring to our athletic programs. I just wish the student body had an understanding of the value that all sports and all student-athletes at KSU bring to the table.
Andy Eggerth is the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country and the nine time Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year and 2013 USTFCCCA South Region Coach of the Year.