By: D. Scott Fritchen
In 2016, Richard Myers was officially appointed President of Kansas State University, Eric Stonestreet recorded The Secret Life of Pets, the average gas price in Kansas was $ 1.97, and a young man from DeSoto, Kansas, was named. Travis Hodge he joined the song team and the K-State stadium.
Hodge is not sure how many cycles he has run on the RV Christian Track Song for the past six years, and in fact, that is not the topic here, as Hodge traces his teenage days wearing a purple uniform. The most famous, and the most amazing of them all, is this:
Hodge, a 24-year-old who never even considered pursuing a university song until later in his high school career, has spent a quarter of his life running in K-State.
“It’s crazy to think,” Hodge says. “One-fourth of my life. It’s something that has been a part of my daily life for a long time. It has not yet come to the fore that it is nearing the end.”
K-State prepares Ward Haylett Invitation on Friday and Saturday. It will be the Day of the Elders. This is the last time Hodge has run on the RV Christian song in an official competition. This will also serve as the final race before the Big 12 Tournament on May 13-15 in Lubbock, Texas.
Time goes by slowly.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he says.
Why, he has met some of his closest friends through the song program and on the field. He has traveled all over the country. He has had a wonderful experience. He’s taken three degrees – yes, three -, which is absolutely incredible.
“Since I got here six years ago, I’ve basically loved it almost every second,” he says. “I’m very grateful.”
During his career, he has competed in the 400, 800, 1,000 and 1,500 meters, 600 yards, and ran miles, and has contributed to several rotating teams. Her favorite event is the indoor 1,000 meters because it is long enough that she must run as fast as she can and there is still time to think during the event. He finished third in the event (2: 26.22) at the 2019 Big 12 Tournament.
“My body responds very well to those races,” he says.
However, its main event is 800 meters, which is considered to be one of the three most difficult events in tracking due to its high dependence on speed, stamina, and mental strength. He ran a personal best-of-the-best 1: 49.79 in the 800 meters at the 2021 Big 12 Tournament. But it is over 800.
About two months ago, he ran a 3: 52.70 private race in the 1,500 meters at the Texas Bobcat State Invitation – about six seconds better than a year ago. He ran a self-proclaimed 49.63 in the 400 meters at Ward Haylett Invitation in May last year.
He calls his RV Christian Track “home”.
“It feels like a natural habitat,” he says. “It’s just normal. Some songs feel a little different depending on the length of the curves or straight and there is a slight difference. It just feels natural at home. My race will be 800 meters, so I’m breaking the race. In the fourth 200s and thinking about how to deal with each 200, and I just feel like I can make it a little easier on the house song. “
He is not entirely sure what he will do without his daily routine which is known for a quarter of his life. There are many nutritious breakfast, class all day, and pre-exercise snacks. There is an hour of stretching before exercise. There is daily exercise between 3:00 and 5:30 pm. That is followed by running, then weight or basic exercise, then stretching more, then ice bath. Then there is dinner and homework.
It’s the life of Hodge – a student athlete.
He does not know another life.
“Everything was about this lifestyle,” he says, “and making sure I can be the best athlete I can be.”
He will miss his own graduation. Its okay. He will take part in the Big 12 Tournament at Lubbock when the tassel turnaround, but K-State Athletics will hold its late graduation ceremony for athletes who will not be able to attend their actual graduation ceremony. Currently, Hodge graduates with a biology degree and a secondary degree in integrated health studies. Last year, he graduated in nutrition science and psychology with a high degree of gerontology. COVID allowed him to stay for an extra year, which gave him the opportunity to stay in school, which allowed him to continue competing and earn more than one degree. He is currently applying to join a medical school.
“Some people ask, ‘What are you doing?’” He says. “I’m trying not to be arrogant. I say, ‘I’m a biologist.’
There is a topic of longevity. He understands it very well. Some athletes get injured and decide to hang spikes. Hodge has never been seriously injured. Some athletes are so overwhelmed by their schooling that they lose interest. And some athletes just burn. Sio Hodge. He always considered himself a soccer player. He then received a follow-up scholarship after his high school year. Then he became interested in tracking the song. And then K-State approached him, and he visited the university, and said, “I think this is it.” And the song was exciting and new. And recently, a university competition consumed Hodge. He caught a bug. He was trapped.
“There is always a desire and the question: How good can I be? How far can I go? How fast can I go?” He says. “Then you get personal quality and you wonder if you can go for two seconds fast.”
She is silent.
“And in a few months,” he continues, “it will be over.”
He is determined to finish in a row.
“I want to try to get the most out of it,” he says. “I just love it. I love people and I love Manhattan and people make it easy for me to go to the gym and keep doing this. I see my friends every day. I get to be part of the team.”
Until one day, and one day soon, he will stand alone. He will look back on his journey, the 24-year-old man contemplating the first visit to the college that would be his home for a quarter of his life. There are children with dreams. He urges the children to evict them. He did not realize his dream until later. He has now fulfilled his dream for six years. He is rare and lucky in that regard. And he would not change anything.
“I’m very grateful,” he says.
His university marathon races are nearing completion. He expects between 10 and 15 family members and friends to attend Ward Haylett’s Invitation to watch him compete in Manhattan for the last time this weekend. Then he will head to the Big 12 Tournament. And then this chapter will wrap up nicely.
“I have no regrets,” he says.
He is silent again. Too many memories. Tons of ideas. So much for grinding today. But that time will come.
“It would be nice,” he says, “without having this as part of my daily life.”