BY MEGHAN KEIM
Tia Knight, a student athlete at MSUM, is more than just the captain of the track and field team. She is athletic, compassionate, competitive, motivated and most of all, she is ambitious.
Knight is a junior transfer student from Cuyamaca Community College in California. In her first year at MSUM, she has broken school records and participated in the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdle, 200-meter dash and 400-meter hurdle.
She has broken the school record for the 60-meter dash and has recently received the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference indoor title for her time in the event. Knight laughs as she explains that she’s “pretty ambitious” but knows the work she puts in will pay off.
Knight was recruited by MSUM’s previous coach Keith Barnier to come from California. Knight jokes that she wanted to “experience winter” and has been pleased with her time, despite the extremely cold weather. She found MSUM appealing because of her previous head coach, assistant coach Rahn Sheffield and her boyfriend, she said.
A successful athlete like Knight only builds confidence from effort and results. Knight admits she is “really competitive” and explains that she “got her competitiveness from her parents ever since she was a kid.”
She gives the example of board games in her house being very competitive and said she grew up with the desire to win. When asked what her favorite part about competing athletically was, she simply answered “winning,” and explained that the rush and adrenaline associated with it are what she loves about being an athlete.
Striving to win is something that Knight is very familiar with. She has a lot of motivation, and it is written all over her track career. Knight jokes that she “eats, sleeps, drinks and breathes track.” Keith Turner, Knight’s teammate, states that she is “the most motivated female he’s met.” Turner went on to explain that though Knight has some obstacles to overcome, such as her lack in height, she always pushes through.
Head coach Darren Schneider has seen the obstacles that Knight has faced and has watched her overcome each of them. Schneider said “she has accomplished a lot here, but the transition from Cuyamaca in California to MSUM may be the biggest accomplishment yet.”
He explained that transfers often get overlooked, but they are tough emotionally and academically. Knight agrees that the “transfer took a lot out of (her)” but jokes that “at least (she) made it through.” Motivated to keep going, Knight persevered.
Schneider, in his first year as head coach of the Dragons, noticed Knight right away. He says “it didn’t take too long to realize Knight’s probable success, work ethic and talent.”
After realizing her intense motivation, she has been made captain. Schneider jokes that her teammates “gravitate toward her success,” but adds that he knows Knight “expects success,” which makes her special.
Schneider agrees with Turner in that Knight is highly motivated. He states, “Knight is a driven athlete with specific goals in mind. She expects success and achieves it with the right preparation.”
Knight said she motivates herself through her faith, her family, her close relationship with Turner and her preparation for what’s ahead. Knight explains, “preparation begins at practice. You work hard physically and mentally, and in the end it all comes together.”
Knight plans to break all of her personal records in each of her events and is on track to break more school records. She is looking forward to nationals this weekend in Salem, N.C., and hopes to improve her times and enjoy the last meet of the season. Knight has qualified in both the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles for the indoor championships.