Regent University College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) student Jonathan Kemp ’18 crossed the finish line first in his heat during the 400-meter event at Christopher Newport University’s Vince Brown Invitational on Saturday, February 4.
“When I’m out there, it feels like I have the biggest fan base,” said Kemp. “They’re always giving me so much support and it really drives me, especially through the homestretch when you have nothing, but you hear everyone cheering you on.”
His teammates, along with several Regent staff, students and alumni did cheer him on through his event. But what he senses is a growing swell of pride that Regent’s community has for its track and field team, which started participating in statewide and regional competitions in January 2017. What’s grown, he said, is his love for his teammates and a sense of recognition and interest with the students on campus.
“My team has grown as a family, and we’re like best friends on campus now whenever we see each other,” said Kemp. “The entire school has really been rallying around this team. They say, ‘We’re just wishing you the best at the track meet coming up.’ It’s encouraging and cool to know that we have an entire school backing us.”
Breanna Dennis ’17 (CAS) was along for the “fan-van” ride with a group of supportive current students to Christopher Newport University on Saturday, to cheer on her friends who were participating in the meet. While in the past her fandom had been reserved for the school’s intramural sports, she’s excited to cheer on her classmates participating in intercollegiate competitions.
“It makes me really proud to see how far Regent has developed in four years, to see all of the different sports and how the community has grown and how fast we’re growing,” said Dennis. “I’m really excited to see when I come back [as an alumna] what more is going to happen.”
Regent’s Athletic Director, Roger Cheeks, explained that his hope when the athletic team started in May 2016 was that the initiative would include support from every area of the university.
And for him, it has.
“It causes people to have a focus and a oneness and unity that causes family,” said Cheeks. “The Regent community is a family to me. All of the athletes and all of the students who we deal with, we express that to them. This is not only a place to come and receive a quality education, but you are with a family – that’s what it’s been with us, particularly with this team.”