No Sleep til NIRCA Nats – Aaron Bhatoya

No Sleep til NIRCA Nats – Aaron Bhatoya

I’m Aaron Bhatoya, a freshman at The Ohio State University. I’m currently an undecided major but I’ll soon be double majoring in History and Political Science with a minor in a foreign language. I have this passion for the Ottoman Empire so working in a US embassy in Turkey would be a dream come true.

Funny thing is, I used to hate running. I was a soccer player by heart, actually still like to think of myself as a soccer player by heart. I’ve been a diehard Liverpool FC fan since the day my brother bought me my first soccer jersey back in 06’. Singing “You’ll Never IMG_3672Walk Alone” inside Anfield is an experience that’ll stay with me forever, that and how obscenely angry British soccer fans get when the opposing team scores.

My first actual experience with running came in the 7th grade. My mom signed me up for cross country without me knowing, and thank God she did because if it wasn’t for her I might still be at home playing World of Warcraft in my computer room. I ran varsity track all four years, but it wasn’t until junior year that I got really serious and decided to do XC too. I had done varsity soccer up to then. Actually, it was the summer after sophomore year that really motivated me. After taking dead last in my sectional 800m race when I was seeded one spot away from a state qualifying spot, I needed to ramp up my game. I still wasn’t ready to completely give up soccer, though, I mean I was a leader on and off the field for the team so I didn’t want to abandon them. I dual sported XC and soccer my junior year; the soccer team lost in the first round of play-offs but I went on to run at the WIAA State Championship meet. A knee injury from soccer the winter of my junior year that would later require two surgeries kept me sidelined during the spring and really hampered my senior XC season. You done messed up Aye-Aye-Ron. Fortunately, I still qualified for the WIAA state meet again. The state meet the second time was just as breath-taking as the first. I can still get chills from thinking about the sound of the stampeding spectators running back and forth across the course.

Track season was my last sport left in high school and it was my last chance to really leave my mark on Peshtigo High School. I’ve always loved track more than XC. Part of my reasoning to do cross country was actually to just be better prepared for the track season. The team my senior year was so close, we were a family. I broke the team down before every practice and after every meet ending with “ONE TRIBE ON THREE”. That’s what we called ourselves. Not only did we have a name for ourselves but we had a motto too. #NoSleepTillLaCrosse was thrown around all over Twitter in our town and soon enough even in the area teams. I’ve never been to the state track meet and I was not going to end senior year anywhere but La Crosse, WI. By the end of the year, I wasIMG_8213 running the open 8 and anchoring the 4×4 relay under the lights in front of 10,000 screaming fans at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. A school and conference record of 1:56:00 in the 800m; I’d finally left my mark.

Coming to OSU, I desperately wanted to keep competitively running and after being denied a tryout by the varsity track coach I flocked straight to the running club. I can’t wait to run my first meet with everyone and am even more excited to run track again, hopefully well enough to show the track coach what he missed out on. I’ve only been here for about four weeks now and I can easily say that running club is my favorite part of the day. I came here without knowing a single person so I was forced to reach out to new people and things. Let’s just take a moment to thank the fact that I reached out to you guys.

It’s a new chapter in my life and a new goal, #NoSleepTillNircaNats