Interview: Michael Trnkus, University of Toronto Varsity Track Team Sprint Captain
Here at School Sport Canada, we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Trnkus, the current Sprint Captain of the University of Toronto Varsity Track Team. He provided us with some great tips and insights into life as a high school athlete, the transition into university, and the ways in which he has benefited from being active in sports.
Michael started out playing a variety of sports in elementary school. It was then that he discovered his love for track, but he didn’t narrow his focus to a particular event right away: “I recommend trying a lot of different things, keep it fun and competitive before you start training for one specific thing. That way, you don’t kill the fun before you realize your potential.”
Upon entering high school, he decided that he would participate in football in the fall and track and field in the spring. This is one of the few decisions he wishes he made differently, as he now sees that he may have benefited from a more diverse sport portfolio throughout high school. His experience as a high school athlete was incredibly rewarding nonetheless, and it was during his time at Abbey Park High School that he began to see that the 400m dash was the event for him.
Off the track, Michael has found that his participation in sport augmented both his academic and social proficiencies. He owes the qualities of commitment and dedication to his participation in athletics, and that those traits transferred into his academic life. Having practices and games on top of classes and homework also helped him develop strong time management skills. Playing different sports also allowed him to meet a lot of people that he might not have otherwise become friends with: “You can always get your friends to try new things with you, but joining teams is an amazing way to make new friends. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met on teams I’ve played with, that I probably wouldn’t have met and become friends with otherwise.”
When it came time to choose a university, Michael used athletics as the determining factor. He first selected all the schools that he was interested in academically, and then figured out which one could best meet his athletic needs. He chose the University of Toronto, and he has been a member of the varsity track team every year. He narrowed his focus to the 400m and 800m dashes and became Sprint Captain during his second year.
Some of the differences he has experienced transitioning from high school to post secondary include increased academic intensity, a higher volume of training, and more independence and flexibility in creating his schedule. He has continued to reap the rewards from his participation in sport, such as enhanced attractiveness to potential employers and the all expenses paid trip to New York City he took last year with his track team to compete in a meet.
We thank Michael for taking the time to sit down with us and wish him all the best in his future endeavours!