NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's track and field team recently convened for their annual banquet, at which they elected their captain for the 2019 season. After all the votes were counted, outgoing senior captain Paedyn Gomes announced the results to the team: Gregory Campbell, Jr., class of 2019, was selected as captain of the upcoming 2019 season.
Campbell, Jr., entered Yale as a standout athlete and 400m dash specialist. His presence was immediately felt, as he became not only a successful long sprinter, but also a vital member of the Bulldogs' 4x400m relay team. During his first season as a Bulldog, Campbell Jr., was a part of the 4x400m relay squad that took second at Ivy Heps Indoors and first at IC4A's with an impressive time of 3:10.96. His success with racing, however, was put on hold by injury – plaguing him through the end of his first year and throughout his sophomore season.
Campbell, Jr., has since returned to action and successfully proven his recovery by setting personal records in both the 200m dash and 400m dash during his junior season. Sprints coach George Evans praised Campbell, Jr., on his leadership, recovery and resilience, commenting, "Greg is someone who had some success early in his career then unfortunately discovered a genetic hip injury that required months of rehab and missed track time. All the while he remained positive and encouraging. This spring, he got back to form athletically and I'm sure the younger guys noticed how he handled himself and the work he put in to start getting back to his old self. Greg has a strong desire for excellence that I know the entire team will feed off of when we start team practice in the fall."
Even when Campbell, Jr., was not in full health and could not race, his positivity was still apparent at practice and noticed by everyone on the team. Not a day of practice goes by that Campbell, Jr.'s smile does not light up Coxe Cage, and he has always been an asset to the Bulldogs regardless of his health status.
Now that his injury is behind him, Campbell Jr., should have a lot in store for the 2019 season, his final season as a Bulldog. When asked to assess the potential of the team and talk about their goals for next season, Campbell Jr., did not hesitate to point out the Bulldogs' deep pool of talent, and confidently stated, "Looking at our roster, it is clear that Yale Track and Field is not a team short on individual talent. On paper, we match up well with the best of the league and have the potential to score highly at the annual Heps Track and Field Championships. Since we all have seen success at one point or another, the goal for the upcoming season is to build camaraderie and motivate one another to achieve personal bests. In order for this supportive atmosphere to manifest in competition settings, it must begin in the fall season as we welcome our incoming class and begin to train as a unit. I will challenge my teammates to build bonds that extend outside of their own event groups so that when our league championships arrive, each athlete is competing for one another."
Campbell Jr.'s platform for next year's team is for it to grow closer as a unit, and for the Bulldogs to build more trust among themselves in order for efforts to be as strong as possible come time for Ivy Heps. He conveys a goal of total team comradery, as he also clearly trusts the athletic abilities of his teammates.
More personally, Campbell, Jr., reflected on what the sport, team and title of captain means to him, saying, "My election as captain signifies quite a lot to me. I had to take a season long break during my sophomore year from Yale Track & Field due to injury. My passion for track and field, a sport I began at a very young age, has carried me through the ups and downs of my collegiate career. Receiving the respect from my teammates to be elected to this role has provided even more fuel to my fire. I firmly believe that my experiences will inform how I serve as captain. Having seen both success and failure, I have a clear idea of what it will take to bring the team both cohesiveness and success; two things that I have found to go hand in hand."
With his athletic ability, experience, positivity and resilience, Campbell, Jr., is looking to be a sound leader for the Bulldogs in the 2019 season, and his goals and outlook on next year are nothing but reassuring that the team will be in good hands.
Report by Zachary Capello '19, Yale Sports Publicity