John Mack ’00 – Track & Field
Being a varsity student-athlete meant being a part of a special group of students at Princeton. Whether you were on the track team or played lacrosse or basketball or squash, you knew that your teammates and friends on other teams were working hard to excel academically and athletically, and it pushed you to do the same. For me, the educational experiences that I had during practice or competition or everyday life as a student-athlete were as beneficial to me as anything that I could have learned inside of the classroom.
My most memorable athletic experience was our team winning the conference outdoor track and field championship in 1998 at Brown. The meet was held in the worst conditions that I’d ever competed in. It was rainy, windy and cold; a terrible weekend to run track. We had a big lead in standings after the first day, but had to hold off a huge rally by Penn that went down to the last event. We ended up winning the meet by 2 points to complete a Triple Crown sweep of the Heps cross country, indoor and outdoor track championships that year.
My experiences as a student-athlete at Princeton laid the foundation for my professional life. Through being a student-athlete, I gained a love of intercollegiate athletics that led me to pursue a career in the field. I learned that you can compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics and not sacrifice your academic pursuits, and I’ve tried to share that lesson with the student-athletes that I work with today.
I would tell current student-athletes to enjoy your experience at Princeton. You’re only given four years to be a varsity student-athlete. The experiences that you have during that short time will stay with you for the rest of your life.