Joe Gaiter: What does track and field mean to you?
Mekhi Closson: Track and Field is my motivation which parallels with the aspects of life. Life is hard, it will knock you down a couple of times, so does track when you have those painful practices or perform badly at a meet. However, despite the pain and struggle, track is what motivates me to be a great person. After going through a hard workout, I feel like I can take on anything. Track taught me to never give up and chase your dreams.
Joe Gaiter: Where were you born and how was your childhood?
Mekhi Closson: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. I grew up without my Father most of my childhood so it was hard for me to get those father/son lessons such as being tough and how to properly act like a man. I spent most of my childhood if not all of it searching for myself and what I wanted to be which was why I participated in a lot of sports such as soccer, baseball, wrestling, tennis, and basketball.
Joe Gaiter: What made you want to play lacrosse?
Mekhi Closson: My mother suggested me to try the sport after not making the tennis team at a private school I went to during 6th grade. Once I started playing it was fun but hard to follow. My friends helped me develop my skills during recess everyday. Once I got comfortable with my stick and skills I got more confident and gained a passion for the sport.
Joe Gaiter: What was your fondest memory at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute HS?
Mekhi Closson: My favorite memory at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute was winning a state medal at Indoor track state championships. Not only it was my first state medal I won but it made me realize my potential for track. Because of that, I stopped playing lacrosse to fully commit to track.
Joe Gaiter: What made you want to commit to Howard University?
Mekhi Closson: I chose Howard University because of the support it gave me. The coach at the time saw the most in me and gave me a track scholarship in addition to my academic scholarship. The people at Howard are talented in many different ways which amazes me. The experiences at Howard are funny too and I love to laugh.
Joe Gaiter: What is your major and how do you plan on using it when you graduate?
Mekhi Closson: My major is Mechanical Engineering and I plan to work for Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, or NASA when I graduate.
Joe Gaiter: Which sport was the most challenging to perform?
Mekhi Closson: Lacrosse to me was the most challenging to perform. There are so many skills for you to master such as passing, catching, cradling, shooting, and dodging with both hands. The sport is very fast pace so you need to develop quick reflexes. The sport isn’t as exhausting as track but has a lot of contact. What really made it challenging for me was the fact that it’s a predominantly white sport so I was always a minority on the field which forced me to work twice as hard to impress coaches and players. The sport was very expensive and we didn’t have that kind of money.
Joe Gaiter: What has been your fastest time in Track & Field?
Mekhi Closson: My fastest time I ran in track was 47.9 in a 4x400m relay at 2017 AAU Junior Olympics. My fastest open 400m is 48.46 at New Balance Nationals and my fastest open 800m is 1:55 at a summer track meet.
Joe Gaiter: Who has been your favorite coach and why?
Mekhi Closson: I really cannot choose who’s my favorite coach. My high school head track coach was one of the funniest old men I met. He taught me how to be disciplined. The assistant hurdle coach was very supportive and funny too. He always cheered me up during my rough times. The assistant distance coach was my childhood coach for track and he helped me get my times down for the 800m. My assistant field coach was very helpful because he helped me through the recruiting process so I can run in college. I also loved my summer track coach. He was funny and he was the most motivational out of all of them.
Joe Gaiter: Do you have any regrets in life?
Mekhi Closson: My biggest regret is not committing to track sooner. I feel like if I ran track for real in my younger years and didn’t stop, I would have been faster than ever.
Joe Gaiter: What do you want your legacy to be as an athlete?
Mekhi Closson: I have high hopes to compete at the 2020 Olympics but I really want to inspire others that anyone can make it regardless of the talent you have. If you have the will and determination, you can achieve your goals. Having those will force you to improve yourself and not be afraid to fail.
Joe Gaiter: Final Words?
Mekhi Closson: Cherish the paths you take as you reach for your destination. You may not think this but the people you meet and the moments you have end up being even more valuable than the end goal you desire.
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