WASHINGTON – Gallaudet University athletics is proud to participate in the fifth annual NCAA Division III Week (April 4-10) in an effort to celebrate the impact athletics and Bison student-athletes have on our campus and surrounding community. GU is joining 450 Division III institutions and 43 conferences in this week’s celebration.
To help focus on the many student-athletes that represent Gallaudet athletics we will spotlight two ifferent student-athlete each day this week. You will learn more about them as they express their feelings on what it is like to be a Division III student-athlete here at Gallaudet. Interviews were conducted by the Gallaudet Sports Information Office.
Freshman Vicente Perez (Cicero, Ill.) is finishing his first year at Gallaudet, was part of the cross country and track teams and is hoping to graduate in 2019.
In My Own Words: Vicente Perez
What is it like to be a student-athlete in college?
VP: It's a challenge, it’s a lot of work to go to class and then practice, I have a hard time waking up in the mornings for practice. It's a lot of responsibility, I’m away from home and I miss my family a lot. It’s almost the same as high school, but in college it's a higher level, practice is harder, we run extra miles. High school was easy, but both coaches were really flexible.
When I was in high school I was the first runner until I got hurt for my senior year, then I was the third runner. I improved a lot during cross country season and now I am the second runner for Gallaudet.
What is it like to be a student-athlete at Gallaudet University?
VP: I’m learning new things from here like American Sign Language (ASL). It was really hard because I signed more English than ASL. So I was learning ASL slowly, but I’m starting to improve a lot.
I have communication support, meeting new students, meeting good runners. It’s different from high school because I was mainstreamed, I didn’t have a lot of support. Here at Gallaudet I have a lot of support with communication. I can communicate here more than outside in the hearing world.
I can communicate more with my team here than in high school with hearing and talking, it was hard to communicate, I had to talk and write. I’m hard-of-hearing and my coach in high school had an interpreter, but here at Gallaudet it’s easier to communicate because we sign. I like the balance of both worlds.
What are your goals after graduation, what do you hope to do in life?
VP: I’m only a freshman, and right now I’m not sure. I might continue to get my master’s degree. I’m thinking about becoming an engineer, civil or mechanical, or maybe another major. I really don’t know yet.
This is your first year at Gallaudet, as well as part of the men’s cross country team. Can you tell us about your experience earning First team All-NEAC as well as running in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Meet.
VP: At first I was way behind Otto Kingstedt, but I started practicing with him a lot and improved my time. I wasn’t first place, but it didn’t matter, I performed my best to improve on my own time. In the NEAC championship I think I placed fourth or fifth, in the NCAA regional meet it was tough because there were so many people there. That meant all I could do was try my best to improve my time. I can’t wait for next year to take off more time and to keep practicing more with Otto.
I hope track season will help me with experience and help me improve. My goal is to get to the NCAA championship for outdoor track. So now, Otto and I are training harder for our goal to make it to the NCAA championship and make Gallaudet history.
Division III Week Fact of the Day
Did you know the average enrollment at Division III schools is 2,643 and the largest enrollment at any Division III insitution is 23,004.
About Division III Week
Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement. For more information log onto www.ncaa.org/about/division-iii-week-2016.
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.