Upon first glance, it’s easy to tell that senior sprinter Jon Alkins is an athlete. His lean, muscular stature, along with four years of hard work, have translated into impressive achievements for the Binghamton men’s track and field team. On a Wednesday afternoon, Alkins sat down in the media room of the Events Center — just a wall away from the indoor track where he practices every day — to reflect on his time at Binghamton and look toward the future.
At the America East (AE) 2017 Indoor Track and Field Championships in February, Alkins captured meet records and first-place titles in the 200-meter and 60-meter events. In addition, he was named Most Outstanding Men’s Track Athlete and received the Men’s Coaches’ Award for the second consecutive year.
“That’s probably my proudest [moment] as of right now,” Alkins said. “I was coming off a really rough season; I had a lot of stuff on my mind for a few weeks and my performance was suffering. Being able to overcome something like that helped me out immensely and looking back on that, I’m so proud.”
Alkins began running competitively in the seventh grade and hasn’t slowed down since. At Eastchester High School, his speed led him to top-three finishes at both the New York State Indoor and Outdoor Championships. According to Alkins, his talent for sprinting developed from a passion for playing all sports.
“I always thought I was a quick kid,” Alkins said. “I love sports; I love doing every sport there is. I don’t have to be good at it, but I like doing it.”
He chose to attend BU because of the strong sense of camaraderie he found among the team during his initial visit.
“I was here when they had the team ‘Tracksgiving’ dinner and I was like, ‘Wow, these kids are actually a team; they’re actually a family,’ and I didn’t notice that at a lot of other schools,” he said. “It just wasn’t the same.”
In May, Alkins will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but he has high hopes for the nine weeks remaining before he crosses the stage.
“My main goal right now is to make it to the NCAA first rounds — the regional meet,” Alkins said. “I’m confident that I’ll get there; my coach is confident. Everyone is supporting me and I think just having that positive mindset is going to give me that drive to get there.”
The NCAA East Preliminary Round will be held in Lexington, Kentucky this year. The top 48 racers from across the regional Division I teams advance. Last season, Alkins fell just short of qualifying.
“I was this close last year; I was right there, and I missed it,” he said. “It was a fast year last year, the kids were quick and you’re dealing with the best,” Alkins said.
Alkins credits his sister as being the greatest inspiration in his life and the driving force pushing him to succeed as much as he has.
“She’s three years older than me and she’s been my best friend since day one, as long as I can remember,” Alkins said. “Growing up, it was just her and I, and we kept each other company. She’s always been a role model for me and tried to lead by example.”
Although his competitive career is nearly over, Alkins plans to continue running — after criminals this time.
“I plan on becoming a police officer,” Alkins said. “If I could become a [state] trooper, that would be great.”
Alkins has already kicked off his career search, taking police exams in Westchester County, close to his hometown. In the meantime, he plans to put his recently earned EMT license to good use.
Giving up track to pursue a career and advance in other areas of his life will undoubtedly be difficult for Alkins, but he is excited about what the future has in store.
“Right now, track is a huge part of my life, and I know I’m going to miss it,” Alkins said. “After graduation, I’m not going to stop challenging myself. I’m going to find other ways to stay active and have fun with athletics.”