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Five years ago I stood in front of Gutterson Field house an excited,
nervous freshman.  I didn't know what to expect from a college track and
field program.  The first few months I practiced and lifted hard trying to
get myself ready for the upcoming season.  However, the attitude of a few
members of the team started to bring me down, thus my work ethic
diminished.  I can remember like it was yesterday when Kus left a message
on my voice mail saying he would like to "speak with me."  I knew what was
coming.  I took the long walk down the hallway to his office.  As I walked
into his office I glanced at the sign with the bull on it and I couldn't
even look Kus in the eye.  He talked to me like a father to a son and told
me if I didn't get my butt in gear he was going to cut me.
>From that point on I worked as hard as I could because I wanted to
contribute to the team and prove myself to him.  I ignored the team members
that were there to party and slack off and just did what I had to do to get
better.  The next year was totally different.  We had new captains (Tommy
and Brett).  That year was the defining year for what UVM track has been
for me the last four years.  There was a feeling that a true team was
coming together.  The relationships of the team weren't split up into
throwers, jumpers, and runners.  We all started to get to know each other
and from there the team morale grew even greater.  Everyone started to take
on the attitude that they were here to compete and work hard to make sure
that when the UVM Men's Track team stepped off that bus our competitors
respected us as people and athletes.
To me the last four years I have been in this program I have grown as an
individual and as a team member.  The team has worked so hard to get to a
point where everybody has the same agenda throughout the track season and
that's to give it everything we got so there is never any regrets.  That's
why when the decision was made to cut the men's program it was like it
ripped the heart out of me.  My life has been track and field for four
years now.  When people ask me during the summer and fall if it's my off
season I tell them there is no off season in track and field.  There is
never time to stop.  My greatest fear was when I would miss a practice or a
lift due to classes and knowing that my competitors could be working during
that time and gaining an advantage on me.  And I know that is the attitude
of my teammates as well.
For what the University of Vermont put into the men's program they got a
hell of a lot more out of it.  This is one the most dedicated hard working
teams here at the University.  And we're not just athlete's we are student
athlete's.  Ranking in the top three academically every year since I've
been here.  We never got the recognition we deserved from the University.
We have had an Olympic Gold Medallist, America East Champions, New England
Champs, and top finishers in the ECAC/IC4A meets.  As far as total team
points the men's team didn't win, but every individual that placed in the
meets did so because of the team support.  I would trade in every one of my
records or championships to see our team win a championship.  I couldn't
have accomplished what I have without the team.
To me the worst part about men's track being cut is the fact that another
freshman isn't going to get the chance to experience what I have
experienced in Men's Track and Field.  And that's what makes me sad.  The
friendships I have made throughout the years are the most important thing
to me because they are friends for life.  Forget about all the performances
and championships.  Without your friends you will never be able to share
those great moments with anyone.
Another great injustice is that after 34 years Kus wasn't even given the
chance to defend us.  Kus is one of the best head track coaches in the
country and is supported by two of the best and most hardworking assistant
coaches anyone could ask for.  The fact that the coaching staff has worked
as hard if not harder than us to create the team we have today is also very
devastating.
To me Track and Field here at UVM hasn't been about my performances, it's
been about friendships, teamwork and dedication.  And that's something I
will never forget.  If I had it to do all over again I wouldn't change a
thing.  Everybody always asks me why I came here where we had an indoor
track with pavement and dirt and an outdoor track that might as well be
pavement and outdoor training sessions in snow and ice.  And I tell them it
was the coach and my girlfriend and the rest of that stuff didn't matter
because it only makes you stronger in heart and mind.
That is why this last year of my college track career isn't for the
University of Vermont.  It's for the coaching staff, my teammates past and
present, for my loved ones and for my friends.  And we won't go down quietly.
"NUTS"

Jeff Guilmette