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From Ghana to Brandeis: The race of a lifetime

Asante makes a statement on the track

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, November 14, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 18:11

Asante 1

Nathaniel Freedman

Asante bolts ahead with the baton during the 1,600-meter race at the Reggie Poyau Memorial Invitational in January.

Asante 2

Nathaniel Freedman

Asante runs full-speed to the finish line in January.

Asante 3

Nathaniel Freedman

Sprinter Vincent Asante's '14 rise to track stardom has been nothing short of a Cinderella story at Brandeis. He was named the University Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Rookie of the Year for 2011. Asante also won the 55-meter dash at the UAA Championships last year, tying the school record as a first-year last season. And he ran a 22.82 second 200-meter dash, missing the Brandeis record books by just four -tenths of a second.

 

Yet his rise to the top of the track world is quite unconventional. Asante first came to the United States in August 2008 after spending much of his childhood in his native Ghana. He spent two years in high school in New York before he came to Brandeis. But, he believes the challenge of adjusting to life in the United States was not particularly difficult.

 

"I've run into some challenges, but nothing too hard to handle," he said. "Everyone learns English in Ghana, and I went to high school here for two years. So I'd say I was pretty prepared for college life."

 

Track was also not Asante's first sport of choice. Initially, track was his secondary sport; he pursued soccer as his primary passion in his high school career. However, upon entering college, he decided to move past soccer and instead try out for the track and field team as a walk-on. "I was pretty good [at running track] in high school," he said, "so I decided to try out in college. It worked and I walked on."

 

From then on, Asante quickly emerged as a force in track and field, setting numerous school records in the 55-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes.

 

However, the track phenomenon's rise did not come without its own difficulties.

 

"I walked onto the track team expecting a huge rate of success, but college academic requirements affected my ability to devote myself to track," said Asante.

 

"So, sometimes, as I enjoyed success in school, track seemed to be tumbling and vice versa. But in all, I enjoyed the traveling experiences that came with being on the team last season."

 

However, Asante said that people should not hold very high expectations for him in the upcoming season.

 

"I wouldn't jump to any conclusions," Asante said. "My starting preparation hasn't been on point so I'm not expecting anything at this moment. However, I am hopeful of breaking the 55-meter record."

He ran well as a first-year, but his preparation over the summer and during the first few months of the school year has not been any more intense than before.

 

"I don't have any high expectations this year because I haven't boosted my preseason preparation too much," he said. "I'm going into the season with no expectations at all. Hopefully I do well but I'm not sure what I'm going to get."

 

The sprinters on the team have also improved considerably since last season, according to Asante. He believes he won't have to carry the Judges as much this season.

 

"Our sprinters are getting better, so this year's performances won't just be dominated by me," he said. "We have other sprinters on hand to boost the school's image and take the team to the next level."

Coming off of his impressive rookie campaign, Asante spent the summer working at Brandeis and preparing extensively for next season. However, since the school year began, his preparation has lessened considerably.

 

"The season starts Dec. 3, so I haven't had any races or anything," he said. "I ran a lot over the summer, but since the school [year] started, I haven't really gone to the training facility as much because of academic expectations."

 

Asante has run down a long, intriguing path to where he stands today in Judges track and field. Undoubtedly, he has an equally bright, storied path lying ahead of him.

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