Memphis native wants to boost popularity of Ole Miss Track & Field Team

Submitted photo.

Nicole Henderson
Oxford Stories

A Memphis native who was inspired by his sister to become a competitive runner wants to make track and field as popular as football at Ole Miss.

Memphis native Alvin Westbrook is in his first outdoor season as a member of the University of Mississippi Track & Field Team. Track & Field is a sport that doesn’t get much attention or isn’t as hyped as other sports, but Westbrook wants to change that.

“When I leave Ole Miss, I want the university, as well as the coaching staff, to remember my name. I want to leave a legacy,” he said.

Westbrook is a freshmen, but he can “trash talk” like he has been running for the university for years. “This sport is not for the weak,” he said. “Sometimes, you have to talk trash to your teammates during practice so that they can work hard on each rep.”

Westbrook wants the best for his teammates, and if he sees his teammates not working up to their potential, calls them out. His teammates respond with more trash talk so that he will be motivated to work harder.

Being a student athlete isn’t easy. People see the benefits, but forget it takes hard work and dedication. A student athlete’s schedule is different from a regular student.

“If someone would’ve told me how busy a student athlete is, I would not have believed them,” Westbrook said. “I barely have time to do what normal students do, like hanging out with friends during the day, going to the movies, and going to eat for lunch.

“The little break an athlete might have will be the time they would want to take a quick nap. We must be everywhere at a certain time, for a certain amount of time, and so on. Between tutors, rehab, practice and team meetings, there is really no free time.”

Westbrook also experienced traveling with the team during the 2017 Indoor Season. He thought traveling would be fun, and thinks it is, but it takes a toll on your body.

“Traveling every weekend during the semester is a good thing because the coaches see potential in you,” he said. “Not everyone gets to travel, but it is a bad thing when it comes to school work. You’ll miss your Thursday and Friday class for maybe a month straight, maybe even on Wednesday, so it does get a little tough, but I just make sure I take care of everything.”

Teammate Shannon Ray said she’s never met anyone as ambitious as Westbrook. “Alvin is a real competitor on and off the track,” Ray said. “He’s always so focused and is willing to get better each day. He brings a lot of positive and hype energy to the team, and that’s just what we needed to get the Ole Miss Track & Field Team back on the map.”

Westbrook describes himself as an impressive and headstrong person. Running track is a family tradition. His sister, who graduated in 2016 from UM, was also a part of the Track & Field Team. She was part of the women’s 4 x 400 meter relay and helped lead them into the regional track meet.

“My sister was the main reason I wanted to run track,” Westbrook said. “When I was around the age of 10 or 11, I saw her run at a track meet, and I knew I wanted to do that too.”

One of his earliest memories from childhood also involved running. “My earliest childhood memory would have to be me running away from my mom when she was trying to give me a whipping,” he said.

Westbrook wants to make his name known at Ole Miss. During the upcoming outdoor season, he plans on running faster each track meet. One of his goals is to make it to the Outdoor National Championship Track Meet in Portland, Oregon.

“Only the best make it to the National Outdoor Track Meet, and I am trying to be one of those runners,” he said.





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