July 21, 2018 | ° F

Senior sprinter crosses finish line to end career at Rutgers

Photo by Edwin Gano |

By definition, to commence is to begin.

With every commencement comes the inseparable duality of endings and beginnings.

Although it is difficult for Rutgers women’s track and field sprinter Jillian Grant to wrap her head around her collegiate career coming to a close, the senior maintains an enthusiastic optimism for the future.

“I can’t believe it’s ending. It’s bittersweet, but you know, at the end of every road is an opening to new beginnings — so I’m looking forward to the new beginning,” Grant said.

Grant moves forward, leaving behind a decorated career on the banks.

During the 2013 indoor season, the sprinter was part of the 4x400-meter relay squad that took home the gold at the New Year Invitational in Princeton.

During her 2014 outdoor campaign, Grant captured the 400-meter hurdles title at the University of Southern Florida Bulls Invitational, clocking in the fifth-best time in the Rutgers records book at 1:01.28.

At the kickoff event of the 2015 indoor season, Grant was the Rutgers Invitational champion in the 400-meter dash and captured third in the 200-meter dash. To polish off the early season successes, she was also part of 4x400-meter relay team that took first place.

Her consistent, pivotal role in relay quartets was seen most recently at the Tennessee Challenge on May 2. Grant ran in the 4x400-meter and 4x100-meter relays, which both rounded out third place finishes.

With a collegiate athletic career perforated with numerous successes, Grant has countless cherished memories highlighting her four years as a Scarlet Knight. Moving forward, she will carry these memories with her along with the lessons learned along the way.

A journalism and media studies major with a double-minor in labor studies and digital communication information and media, Grant hopes to have a career in marketing within the entertainment industry.

As a result of the immense support provided during her time as a student-athlete, Grant’s eyes were opened to the genuine benevolence of others. This insight helps to give her a positive outlook as she takes on new journeys after college.

“I feel like athletics and just the support, the athletic support, has definitely showed me that there really are good people in the world that really care for the betterment of others,” Grant said. “I think that’s something to bring forward as I go into the real world — that not everybody is out to do damage and do harm, that there are really good people in the world.”

The people she has met during her time as a Knight have played a major role in Grant’s experiences and memories throughout the past four years.

Though she will miss many aspects of her life as a student-athlete, above all, time with her teammates will leave the largest void.

“I’ll miss just being with my team all the time. We’re a really close unit and they really are like my family,” Grant said. “I’ll definitely miss being around them all day everyday.”

Although graduation marks a momentous change in Grant’s life, she is confident that she will utilize the lessons learned from her time at Rutgers in her future endeavors.

While her time as a student-athlete may be ending, the bonds that she has formed and strengthened as a Knight are not.

Grant moves onward in life not alone, but with her teammates, her friends, still by her side.

“I feel like athletics really has helped me grow as a person, so it’s sad to see it go but that’s life,” Grant said. “It was definitely the best four years thus far in my life. I’ve learned a great deal," Grant said. "I’ve definitely grown as a person, and I’m glad to continue on in my career and my path in life because I know I’ll be bringing a lot of my teammates who are now my best friends along with me. It’s really been a great four years.”

For updates on the Rutgers women's track and field team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Kaylee Pofahl

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