I know what we have on this team is really special. We have a family that supersedes individual differences, and is united by a love for the sport and a support for each that I have never experienced before.

I cannot emphasize enough how much the men and women are a single unit. We train together, we sit through team meetings together, we are coached by the same people. Cutting the men’s team is equivalent to splitting us in half. We have common goals and we collectively work to realize these goals- gender doesn’t divide us. The sense of unity that is felt is what fuels us above all to push forward and compete for something bigger than ourselves. We support each other on and off the track and I have felt this support since the moment I walked into my first day of practice.

Before I even arrived on campus my freshman year, my entire grade already had a line of communication. Both men and women, across all event groups, talked about how excited we were for the next four years doing what we love at a school that we chose each for our unique reasons. We knew, even then, that we were one unit.

By instating this initiative, you have stolen some of our key training partners from us. While the distance group is a slight exception, each event group trains men and women side by side. I have been injured some in my time at Brown, so cross training is often the routine. This can get difficult and tedious, especially when feeling pessimistic. I, along with other members of the women’s team, have often been joined by members of the men’s team on these days- whether they be in the pool, on the stationary bike, or in the training room. This to me is a constant reminder of what brings us together, and how little really sets us apart. In addition to having common aspirations, we experience the same hardships, and the same resilience to overcome. By killing one program you are killing two: reducing the opportunities for success of the women’s team, and diminishing the bright future that Brown track and cross country has. In addition, losing the men’s team would be a tragedy for diversity. This sport is arguably the cheapest and most accessible sport, and allows for athletes of all socioeconomic groups to participate without barriers.

Not only is this team a family within the realm of competition, we are also a family outside of athletics. We take trips together, study together, and eat in the dining halls together. This year, we worked to put on a haunted house. It was random, but ended up being one of the most fun things I have done at Brown.

In addition to being great friends, these athletes are some of the most dedicated and strong-willed individuals I know and they deserve better. If this initiative was truly about excellence, the Brown track team would not be cut.