How has Howard’s track journey been with APU?

Senior psychology major Tyler Howard has been a part of the track and field team at Azusa Pacific University for the past four years since his freshman year. As commencement is right around the corner it has put Howard in a state of nostalgia. As Howard’s senior year comes to a close he has been reflecting on his athletic career with APU. Howard has two more years for indoor and one more year for outdoor and one red shirt. 

Reflecting on the past four years at APU it has been an enjoyable journey for Howard doing indoor and outdoor track. One of the main lessons Howard has learned is to trust the process. 

It has been a good athletic journey for Howard. It has been nice for him to see his progress and trust the process along the way. Howard’s last season has been a good one. “The practices are challenging, but it’s in our best interest. You have to be willing to put in the work to get to where you need to go,” said Howard. 

Howard has made progress in outdoor and indoor track. It has been an enjoyable athletic career for him along with competing and practicing with the team. They are all on the journey together 

to excel in their craft.

Track has shaped Howard’s character by teaching life lessons that he’ll carry with him beyond his athletic career. Track taught me how to keep my eye on the prize. You have to remind yourself every day what you’re coming to practice for,” said Howard. For example, his main event is 400 hurdles and he can’t give up at the last 100 meters because it hurts and you’re barely able to move. Essentially you just have to keep going even when it’s most difficult. 

Since Howard’s freshman year he has learned valuable lessons such as to do what you can to take care of your body is one of the most important things he’s learned. For example, taking five minutes in the morning to stretch can help your body. Also keeping his body flexible or else his body becomes tight is another vital lesson he learned throughout his athletic career. 

Another lesson he has learned is to be prepared to perform his best at every practice and race. “I have learned to be ready by coming to practice locked in,” said Howard.

Throughout his entire track career at APU Howard has come across surprises and challenges along the way. This past season has been a surprise for Howard since he’s been doing 4×100, 100 meters, 200 meters. Howard’s main event is 400 hurdles. Some challenges for Howard were to stay healthy, eat right and do everything he needed to do to be ready to perform his best. 

Howard has some favorite memories during track to reflect back on. Such as when he ran indoors last year for the first time. He was able to experience how it is to run on a big track and see all the different teams together. Another favorite memory that Howard has is being able to travel with his team across the country to compete against schools nationwide. Overall running indoors and winning the conference last year was a positive memory.

They won a conference last year at home which was a fond memory for Howard.

“Winning the conference felt good and I knew everyone did their best and showed up and did what their best at. It was really cool seeing everyone do their thing,” said Howard

One of Howard’s major highlights was last season when he ran his best time. “Last season I ran an all-time best of 52.46 and this happened a month in a half before nationals and I was already qualified for the top five on the list,” said Howard.

That was a major highlight for Howard because it showed him that he was capable of more than he realized.

Howard first got into track for fun in kindergarten when they had a competition in elementary school where everyone would run and compete. That’s where it all started and in middle school, Howard started taking track seriously. In middle school, his first real experience competing was when he was in a club. 

What Howard loves most about the sport is the dedication and hard work that goes into it. 

“Everyone who you see competing has put in countless hours to excel in their craft.” As an athlete you have an idea of some of the sacrifices that professional athletes have to make to be competitive at a high level,” said Howard. 

It is also cool for Howard to see other people perform and see all their hard work pay off. That’s one of his favorite parts of the sport to see the results of his hard work come into play. “For example, You can see your hard work pay off immediately. It’s easy since track is all about numbers, “ said Howard 

If Howard had the chance to tell his freshman self a piece of advice he would say “You got it and you’re capable of more than you realize. You don’t need others to give you praise for you to know you’re doing well,” said Howard. 

A few of his teammates had some words to describe Howard as a part of the team since he first started track freshman year. “Tyler has a very unique personality in a positive way and he is memorable Tyler when he does something you know it’s him,” said Sid Varland, junior cinematic arts major.

Howard’s other teammate had heartwarming words to describe Howard as a teammate. “Tyler is compassionate, outgoing, and he always wants to better himself and is helpful towards his teammates,” said Nasir Samuels, sophomore kinesiology major. 

Howard helps his teammates with hurdles and is known to be a good mentor to others. 

His athletic career has been a journey filled with unforgettable memories, lessons, and surprises. Howard has positively impacted his teammates with his caring personality and will continue to do so in the remaining two years he has with APU track and field.