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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Sports

Junior sprinter’s unique attitude has acclimated him to new team


Junior transfer Jermaine Holt has acclimated to his new team with his humor and has become a key part of its national championship hopes. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

On a blistering hot afternoon in Houston, junior Jermaine Holt rushed around the track as the third leg of the men’s 4x400m relay and ensured another victory for the red and white.

While Holt’s hustle and quickness highlight his competitive nature, the video he uploaded to YouTube a day prior emphasizes his contrasting but just as dominant personality trait: goofy.

The video, titled “Signs You’ve Been Disrespected In Track And Field,” is a six-and-a-half minute long film full of humor in the track and field world like many of his other videos.

His channel is home to 26 videos and has amassed a total of over 61,000 views and 652 subscribers. His teammate, senior Obi Igbokwe, described Holt as goofy first, then hardworking and a genuine.

“There’s a lot of funny people, but he’s different,” Igbokwe said. “I’ve never seen someone be so unserious and just so goofy and then be able to be 100% super serious. He’s just a funny guy, and he’s easy going.”

Prior to his time at the University of Houston, Holt ran the 400m dash and the 4x400m at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas, though he is originally from St. Louis. That is where his interest in shooting videos began.

Holt began to shoot dance videos while in high school, and during his time in Coffeyville, Holt and his friends began filming track-themed skits to kill free time.

Holt continued to pursue the hobby after he received positive responses on his first few skits, and those types of videos litter his channel today.

But as Igbokwe said, Holt is also a fierce competitor and has emerged as a staple for the Cougars’ track team since joining the program in August.

Holt made it clear he would fight for a position on the 4x400m relay team, which he eventually earned.

“Jermaine worked as hard if not harder than any athlete I have ever had come to Coffeyville,” said his former coach Craig Perry. “He is very talented, but he also just out-works everyone around him. He is so driven and hungry to succeed that he refuses to lose.”

In his first season with the Cougars, Holt has already earned himself and his team a national championship, as the 4x400m relay team finished first at the NCAA Indoor National Championships last month.

“I’m real proud of that dude. He was a real integral part of that four-by-four, and we needed that for sure. He went above and beyond,” Igbokwe said.

Holt said he was drawn to Houston’s program due to its mark as a smaller Division I program, as he could relate to its underdog mentality. Like him, the program had a chip on its shoulder and had something to prove.

The transition from a junior college to a Division I program adorned with a $4 million facility, however, was not an easy one initially.

The junior noted the significantly tighter schedule as one thing that stood out during his first weeks at Houston as opposed to his days at Coffeyville.

The training program was more intense than he had previously experienced, but with the help of his new teammates, Holt said he quickly gelled.

“Most (of) the people in the videos became more of my core group of friends that I hang out with,” Holt said.

While he is still very active in his comedy shots,  Holt has started to venture into editing highlight videos, collaborating with fellow track and field athletes at meets and other types of videos.

But for now, the acting, shooting and editing is just a side thing for the athlete to keep him busy, and he is still focused on elevating his team so they can challenge for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in just a couple months.

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