posted 2012-10-05 22:59:55

Understanding the Student-Athlete

Featuring Javier Levy, captain of the Huntercross-country and track & field teams 

Stephie-Anne Duliepre

Contributing Writer

Javier Levy. Photo by Hunter Athletics.
Jamaican running was a hot topic during this summer’s London Olympics. Everyone was excited to see the battle between Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, the two fastest men in the world, as they competed against each other in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and competed together in the 4x100-meter relay.

But right here at Hunter College, senior Javier Levy, who is a Jamaican native and captain of both the Hunter men’s cross-country and track & field teams, is trying to bring pride and honor to Jamaican running in his own way. “I was elated and proud of my country’s dominance, especially since we were celebrating our fiftieth year of independence,” Levy said. “It made me want to work even harder.”

Interestingly enough, Levy’s story does not start out as we might expect, coming from a country renowned for its incredibly fast runners. “I basically stumbled onto the sport of track. I didn’t run in high school. I played basketball all four years, but I was always told I was fast, so when I came to Hunter I decided to give it a shot and I ended up loving it,” he said. Since then, Levy has been making a huge impact here at Hunter. Excelling at both long jump and sprinting events, he has become a well-known force in the CUNYAC community. Last season, he swept the fastest times for every sprinting event on the team, from the 55-meter to the 400-meter dash.

Levy comes back this season for his final year with the Hawks. Although a natural sprinter, Levy has adapted well to his role as captain on the cross-country team. “It feels good to be captain,” he said. “This team has a bunch of new faces with great talent. I look forward to helping them become the best they can be and leading them to a championship.”

Known as the “chill” captain, Levy is well-respected by his teammates. “He’s a cool captain. He really helps you out and always tries to satisfy everyone around him,” said freshman Ari Shabi, Levy’s cross-country teammate. .

The legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” Levy is living proof of that. A desire to care for others is one of Levy’s most admirable qualities. The oldest of three children, he moved to the United States at the age of five and quickly learned the importance of both dependability and responsibility. At Clara Barton High School, Levy was a member of the National Honor Society and the step team and is now president of the Blue and White Society, a community service group here at Hunter. Along with all of his community service, he is also a licensed practical nurse and volunteers regularly at hospitals such as Kings County and Kingsbrook.

A Psychology/Nursing major, Levy has found his passion in healthcare. “I always pictured myself being in the health field. Even as a child, it always brought me great joy to help people and I plan to continue that type of work until I’m old,” he said. On top of his medical work here at home, Levy also plans on travelling and volunteering abroad, specifically in Africa and Asia.

One might wonder how it’s possible for a student athlete to balance so much. But Levy is quick to answer that question. “Being a student athlete requires a lot of hard work and dedication, because you’re balancing your academics and trying to be the best athlete possible. But I believe it helps build character and allows you to set priorities. Whenever I feel stressed about the pressure of being a student athlete, I just go out for a good run. I always feel better after that,” he said jokingly.

He also added that another great source of motivation for him is making his loved ones proud. Since this season will be the last of his college career, he is looking to make a lot of people proud. “I believe our team has the talent to win cross-country and indoor and outdoor track & field. I also aim to set and break some records and make it to nationals,” he said.

With all of the amazing work he is doing both in and out of his running shoes, it’s easy to see that Levy will be leaving a huge impact on Hunter College no matter what he does in either cross-country or track & field. If he breaks a few records along the way, then all the better.