CAPTAINS’ CORNER: IAN KAGAME ’19

Print More

Team: 

Men’s track and field 

Hometown: 

Kigali, Rwanda

Residence: 

Hoxsey Street

Major: 

Economics

Snack bar order:

Chicken tenders, buffalo chips and a mixed berry smoothie 

How did you start competing in track and field – and jumping, more specifically?

I started my junior year of high school. Basically, I played basketball in high school, and my basketball coach, who was also the track coach, convinced me to give it a try. He might’ve seen some potential there, but at first I rejected it, and I didn’t do it my first two years of high school. As soon as junior year came along, I didn’t have anything else to do, so I was like: I’ll just do it. The jump squad that year was me and my little brother [Brian Kagame ’20], so it was cool to have him and me being the ones doing high jumping. I stuck with the sport ever since then.

Track and field is one of the larger teams on campus. How do you maintain team camaraderie and a team mentality with such a high number of athletes?

The best thing about the track team is that everyone has such a wide range of interests and things that they do, and everyone is so supportive of that. I think it’s a really unique aspect of our team that people will go and support people who are playing other sports. We have a lot of two-sport athletes on the team. We have a lot of people who do theatre and dance. We have people who do a lot of different things. The coaches have a real understanding that athletes have other things they want to do, and I think that’s one of the things that has really brought us together. Especially when we don’t have the field house to physically bring us together, we try to find different ways and activities to come together.

Do you have a favorite team tradition?

I’m a big fan of team snacks. We gather the night before our meets, Friday nights usually, and we’ll do storytime. So, one person on the team will get nominated, and the storytime entails anything you want it to be. It’s been really fun to hear everyone’s different stories as to why they like track. Even those that are not track-related are really cool to hear. That’s a cool thing to do the night before a meet, when everybody is trying to relax. We’ll spend about an hour and there will be snacks there. That’s been really fun to do. 

What is the team’s spring break training trip to San Diego like?

It’s a lot of fun. It’s probably the best environment to get better in because we don’t have any distractions. It’s just the 30 guys and 30 girls [selected from the team]. We practice in the mornings and have the rest of the day to explore the city of San Diego. We stay right by the beach, and some people end up spending the entire day at the beach or hanging out with each other. We compete at two different meets there, with a lot of Div. I and Div. II schools. The level of competition there is super interesting. We have a lot of fun with it. 

Do you have any superstitions before competing?

Yes, actually. I usually [put on] my left-sided stuff first, like socks and spikes. Then, I listen to one specific song.

What song?

“I Need A Forest Fire” by James Blake. It’s a really low-key song, but I like it a lot. It helps me mellow out and relax. Especially for jumping, I really want to be in a relaxed state of mind and that song helps me just block out everything else. 

Track and field has had an unconventional season this year, with the field house construction underway. Can you tell us about how the team has adapted?

For starters, I think we were all unclear on when we would have the field house or whether we would have it at all. I think it was important for us, at the start of the season, to forget about it and not worry about things we can’t control. I really commend a lot of people both on the guys’ and the girls’ teams, and the coaches especially, for being really creative. I’ve seen coaches getting to practice two hours earlier just to lay down mats in a different spot or lay down a different runway somewhere else. We’ve just been making the most of the different spaces we have. 

Do you have a favorite part of being a captain, and a senior, on the team so far?

I think just the relationships I’ve formed with the freshmen on the team. A lot of seniors and captains have this inclination to become close with their freshmen, naturally almost. So far that’s been the best thing about being a captain on the team, just having that camaraderie with the freshmen and helping them to understand the team dynamic and feel comfortable on the team. 

Do you have any goals, or are there any team goals, for the rest of the season?

Right now, the big goal for us is to do well next week [at Div. III New England’s]. Going into the outdoor season, the big one for us is NESCACs. We’ve won two out of my three years here. Not winning last year made me a little salty, and I know a lot of people felt that way as well. So, we want to reclaim that this year, and I think we have a good enough team to do that. We have a deep team and a hungry team. I’m excited to see where that goes.