Griffin works through pain for the big finish

By Cecilia Ornelas

After countless hours of practice, the dedication and hard work
finally paid off for track and field athlete Carter Griffin, who
won the Freshman of the Year award at the conference championships
April 26.

However, the dedication to victory that enabled him to run in
four events came with a price that will keep Griffin out of
competition in the Division II National Championships May
22-24.

“I got injured during the conference championship,” said
Griffin. “I strained a ligament in my foot while running, but I
kept going because our coach said if we ever get injured, we’ve got
to keep going to help our team out and score points even if we
complete the race walking.”

Griffin said he was injured during the first race he ran, but he
kept competing despite the pain. Between races he rested and
rebandaged his foot so that he could continue running.

He ran with the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams at the
California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, and the
teams placed second and third in those events.

Griffin also ran the 200-meter dash, coming in eighth place, and
in the 400-meter dash, coming in fifth place.

Teammate Jonathan Williams explained how Griffin’s injury
affected the races.

“It was a huge blow for us, but we continued going,” said
Williams, a sophomore. “He did not stop because of his injury. He’s
a fighter – he kept going. He is definitely the heart and soul of
the team.”

Due to his injury, Griffin is required to take three weeks off,
which will leave him unable to participate in Nationals.

“I am upset and saddened by my injury because I could’ve made it
to Nationals,” said Griffin.

Griffin’s teammates supported him after his injury and continue
to consider him a great asset to the team.

“He is very important to the team because he is the only major
400-meter guy we have,” said sophomore Tokunbo Adeniji. “That is
his main event.”

Griffin is thankful to first-year head coach Troy Johnson for
always encouraging him and pushing him to his full potential
throughout the season.

“Coach Johnson is really good. He’s someone I could work with.
He could unleash my potential,” said Griffin. “Everything he
requires us to do while training makes sense … and we know it’s
going to benefit us.”

Williams said there is a special bond between Griffin and
Johnson.

“The coach and Carter are good friends because the coach used to
run the 400-meter event, and he specializes in training sprinters
who run that race,” said Williams. “The coach is very encouraging
and is proud of Carter’s work.”

Besides being a tough athlete who has contributed a lot to the
team in his first year, Griffin’s teammates consider him to be a
great teammate and friend.

“He is very encouraging. He cheers us on and really wanted to
make Nationals but can’t make it because of his injury,” said
Adeniji. “He always wants us to do well, and he has great attitude
and is a great team player.”

Griffin’s teammates consider him supportive but quiet; hard
working and determined but not cocky.

“He’s quiet and reserved and yet funny at the same time,” said
Williams. “At first, he was really quiet, but he is slowly coming
out of his shell.”

Although Griffin is injured and will not be able to run at
Nationals, he is still going to attend and cheer on his teammates.
He has not lost hope and will continue to run as a sprinter for Cal
Poly.

“I am definitely coming back next year because I need to make up
for this year,” said Griffin. “Next year, I will hopefully make it
to Nationals.”

Griffin works through pain for the big finish

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Griffin works through pain for the big finish

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