Senior sprinter Jahmani Lockett’s days as a member of Long Beach State’s track and field team often started before sunrise and ended long after sunset, but he calls them “all worth it.”
“Nobody else goes through the things that we go through,” Lockett said. “Even if you join a frat, you don’t get that bond that we have on the track team. Like when you’re out there and about to pass out and throwing up, what we do during the offseason to train.”
For Lockett, the team is his second family. The La Mesa native said that the relationships built solely through athletics are what he’ll take away from his career when it is over; one particular relationship more than the others.
In 2012 Lockett, who had played multiple sports in high school, walked on to the LBSU track and field program, which is when he met his girlfriend, DaShane’ Lars.
A teammate of his from the women’s squad and a close friend, Lars paid for Lockett’s meals when he was broke freshman year.
Since it was Lockett’s freshman season, he was not eligible for an athletic scholarship; therefore he had to pay his way through school and necessities.
Locket recalled having no money in his meal plan account and as a result, was locked out of the resident dining hall.
“When I walked onto the program, everything was being paid through financial aid and loans,” Lockett said. “And basically she took me and fed me everyday and night. Then a relationship fostered out of that.”
With emotional and financial support coming from Lars, Lockett made a quick impact on the track. In his first season, Lockett was named Co-Big West Freshman of the Year, while helping the 49ers win a conference title.
For Lockett, he said that his college career has gone by quicker than his fastest 4×400 finish of 47.75.
“It’s going to be crazy, when it’s all over,” Lockett said. “Just on that four by four squad, two of us are seniors and it’s probably going to be very emotional not running with this group again.”