From the moment Charief Lewis joined the Florida A&M men’s track and field team, he impressed everyone in his path – both on the track and off.
Lewis, a second-year health care management student from New York, joined the team two years ago and quickly made a name for him in the 4 x 400m relay. The 19-year-old walk-on said he has been working to improve his performance to someday receive a scholarship.
“I enjoy improving my performance by pushing myself to new heights,” Lewis said. “Pain is only in the mind. As a walk-on to any team, the idea is to gain a spot on the team and eventually receive a scholarship.”
Head coach Wayne Angel, who is also in his second year with the team, said he appreciates Lewis’ silent leadership skills. He said he admires how Lewis never boasts about his victories and how hard he works during practices to better both him and the team.
“He keeps improving,” Angel said. “Each year he gets better. He is maturing physically and his times continue to drop.”
Angel said Lewis is equally as impressive off the track, as his academic performance is an act to follow.
“He does well in the classroom and is the ideal student that you look for in a future leader,” Angel said.
Dominating in the classroom is a challenging task for some athletes, but through sacrifice and determination, Lewis said he is able to balance his roles well. He said maintaining academic eligibility to compete on the track is a reason for his hard work.
“Time just has to be made,” Lewis said. “I intend to compete for all my years of eligibility, so I make it happen.”
Lewis said the workload that comes with being a health care management student is anything but simple, but manages it by studying while traveling with the team.
Team captain Shuaid Winters, a senior from Conyers, Ga., said Lewis is a role model to everyone around him. Winters said he particularly likes the way Lewis resolves problems on the track.
“Even though Charief is younger than me, I look up to him,” Winters said. “By watching him, I learn how to handle different situations. The way he goes about solving problems on the team is different, and they work.”
Angel said Lewis has been a blessing for the team, and in the future, would be an ideal candidate for team captain.
“We are working very hard working toward our goal of putting together the best team possible,” Angel said. “With strong tradition here in track and field, I’m glad to have Charief on our side.”
Whether Lewis is on the field or in the classroom, he shines. He is an ideal student and a great inspiration to those around him.
Angel’s words of inspiration resonate in the minds of all his athletes, including Lewis.
“The only limits of the realization of tomorrow are your doubts of today,” Angel said. “Believe in yourself and you can achieve it.”