I told my coach that I really wanted to be in a school where I could do well athletically, have a great coach, and have great academics. When I arrived on campus and saw Lewisburg, I felt right at home.
Something special must be going on in the minds of the fastest humans on the planet. Something that allows them to push their bodies past the point of protest, spend hours in the weight room, watch every ounce of water and food they ingest, all for a race that ends. in less than a minute.
As a member of Bucknell’s track team, Rayven Sample ’24 spends hours training his body to cut his best times by fractions of a second.
And as a double major in psychology and education, he also spends hours thinking about the inner workings of athletes’ minds to find out what causes these superhumans to submit to the pain of an athletic training regimen. elite.
“The career I see myself in is sports psychology – being able to work with top athletes,” says Sample. “It’s always very interesting for me to see their mental process – these people who are so willing to do the hardest thing possible.”
Sample knows how to overcome challenges to excel in sport. He was born with arthrogryposis, an incurable joint disease that leaves him little movement in his hands.
Undeterred, Sample continued to run – and win – throughout high school. In a 2019 article for MileSplit New York, which ranks Empire State high school track athletes, the writer said Sample had “one of the most incredible track and field stories” in the state. , adding that it was “just an amazing story. whatever the circumstances. “
Sample was recruited by several schools and chose Bucknell because he wanted to do it all – compete in Division I athletics, start his journey to become a sports psychologist, and pursue his dream of competing in the Tokyo Paralympics.
The latter dream came true when Sample competed in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, fulfilling a promise he made to his grandmother. Kathy Sample, who raised Rayven since the age of 4 months, died the day he arrived in Bucknell to start his first semester.
The support of his team
As fall 2020 wore on and Sample began to meet his teammates and teammates, he opened up to some of them about the loss of the woman who was his biggest fan on both. and off the track.
“The people I meet in my classroom, in my classes, in my team are just fantastic people,” he says. “One of the things I really love about Bucknell is that the students and staff are really great people. So many people, whether they know it or not, have contributed so much to this healing process. . “
Sample knows that many young people in this world are suffering and he wants to use the skills and relationships he develops at Bucknell to help them. He saw it with his own eyes in high school, where some classmates struggled with poverty that “hindered their brilliance and covered their gifts.”
He wants to share his story of overcoming difficult circumstances, defying criticism and winning as a team.
“Since I had a good life, I want to give back to others and help them have a good life, thanks to the knowledge that I have acquired,” he says. “I want to help as much as I can.”