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April 1, 2014

From adversity to opportunity

Local athlete, Meredith, finds success in collegiate track and field after sustaining football injury

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

Making it onto a collegiate sports roster can be hard enough in and of itself, but doing so for a sport you never participated in prior to college can be an even more difficult task.

As rare of an occurrence as that may be, you can count Justin Meredith, who attended Birmingham Groves High School, as an exception.

Meredith went to Albion College to play basketball and football. But after tearing his MCL during his freshman football season, Meredith said for a “little bit,” he thought his collegiate athletic career was “done.”

As it turned out, instead of his athletic career being finished, it just took a different direction. Meredith decided to take some friends up on their suggestion that he try out for Albion’s track and field team, and given what has happened since, that suggestion seems to have been a good one.

Since joining the team as a sophomore, Meredith said he broke the 200 meters indoor school record and is .2 seconds away from school records in the 100 and 200 outdoor. He also said he finished in third place in the 100 and in fourth place in the 200 at the MIAA Championships during the 2013 outdoor season.

One of the prime reasons competing in the 100 and 200 may have been an ideal fit for Meredith is that it doesn’t require moving side to side, which means that despite the injury he sustained, he can still run effectively.

Although it may not have been under the circumstances he would have preferred, the adversity he went through may have led to a great opportunity for Meredith.

“I’m glad the situation happened,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t have ever tried track if I stayed healthy. I used to play a whole bunch of sports, but it’s different. It’s a good change, and I like it. It’s become one of my loves.”

Meredith is currently a junior at Albion.

Aside from the enjoyment and satisfaction he has found via his role as a student-athlete, Meredith also indicated that he has learned some lessons he can apply to his life after his days as a collegiate track athlete are over.

“I was a captain junior, senior season at Groves, and I’m a captain here for the track team,” said Meredith, who acknowledged support he has received from his family, as well as coaches. “I think my leadership skills not only correlate to doing well at meets, but also after the college level, in the workforce. Leadership skills will also help me in that area. My goal is to be a manager at a corporation, so I think that’s where my leadership abilities will help me out.”

Meredith said he did not know until after the fact that he had broken the school record for the indoor 200. However, he is well aware of the opportunity that exists to break the outdoor records in the 100 and 200, and that may be why he said he is “real excited” about his remaining eligibility with Albion.

“I’m .2 seconds away from both of those records,” he said. “I’m trying to improve everyday, so when the time comes, I can break those, and my name can be up on that wall. It would mean a great deal.”

Meredith added that one of his goals is to continue to do well academically. He is majoring in communications, with a minor in psychology.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.