Summer Spotlight: Solomon Lawrence is Consistency During Chaos
Consistency. We are told consistency is key. Practice makes perfect. Repetition and work ethic trump talent any day. We miss one hundred percent of the shots we do not take. We are told to work hard and in return, the world will be at our fingertips.
In reality, it is hard to stay consistent. We change, our goals change, the world changes, and so on. The one thing we can truly control is our output and our mindset, and Solomon Lawrence is our prime example of just that.
A rising senior from Syracuse, New York who is double majoring in Africana Studies and Government, Solomon is a middle distance runner for the Big Red men’s cross country and track and field teams. He will be a captain this coming year, but this honor only provides a small glimpse of his many accomplishments and recognized leadership. Not only has he made it to the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in both Indoor and Outdoor Track in each of his three years, but he has also scored at three of the five championships he has been to.
Athletically, he is the definition of consistency. His success started freshman year and has not stopped. His accolades seem to only get more and more impressive. Freshman year, he scored at Outdoor Heps on his 4×800 relay team. Sophomore year, not only did he finish third and score in the 500 meter dash at indoor heps, but he also ran the tenth best time in program history in the 500 meter. Junior year, he placed third in the open 800 meter dash at Indoor Heps AND earned himself a spot on the All-Ivy First Team after bringing home a gold medal in the 4×800 meter relay alongside Shane Goosby (‘20), Jonnie Plass (‘21), and Mitchell Curl (‘23). At this rate, his senior year is going to be astonishing.
However, for true and complete consistency we must look off the track. It is no secret that this summer has been unique, to say the least; the combination of Coronavirus and sociopolitical unrest and injustice has thrown the country, including its collegiate athletes, off their “regular” schedule.
Solomon, luckily enough,did not face too much adversity when it came to training over the summer. As a runner, he says he was able to achieve his weekly mileage even though the spring outdoor season was canceled. Despite this normalcy, Solomon expressed to us:
Although I didn’t have issues with training in regards to facilities, I did struggle to stay motivated. After our spring season was cut, I found it very difficult to train with the same intensity knowing there weren’t going to be any meets. So I took about a month off of running during April to refocus. During this time, I worked on developing a routine of waking up early (around 8am) and cooking dinner every night to build structure that was lost with track being cancelled.
Like most of us, he has found fun ways to help himself through quarantine, such as taking summer courses through the University of Chicago as a member of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Program and cooking new and exciting dishes in Ithaca with Cornell star sprinter Kellian Kelly (‘21).
It is during this time that, despite trying to find entertaining distractions to get himself through quarantine, we really see Solomon’s consistent dedication shine. He has not lost sight of his goals, the future ahead of him, or the greater picture.
While Solomon has remained consistent with his dedication, he admits it has been hard to stay focused at times, saying:
As a captain, I would like to give my younger teammates the certainty that, frankly, none of us have right now. So that is frustrating. But I try my best to stay positive and keep things in perspective. We have plenty of great memories we can reflect on. Also, we’re worrying about racing around an oval while the nation is dealing with issues like homelessness, an overwhelmed healthcare system, and protests over racism. I like to remind my teammates that if track is the biggest thing we’re stressing over, then we’re doing alright.
Academically, he is charging ahead at full steam, as he plans on pursuing a Masters at either an ACC or Pac 12 school in Public Policy with a focus on Education, while hopefully also using his fourth year of eligibility on a strong middle distance program.
While Solomon has made it obvious that he has, and will continue to, thrive academically and athletically, it is clear that he is a true example of dedication, consistency, and a positive mindset. He has achieved some of his goals as a runner, yet he continues to form new ones. He looks toward the future by laying the foundation now, despite today’s adversity.
Solomon closed our interview with a final statement about the “greater picture”:
I think one thing that I’ve taken for granted but have learned to appreciate is having a team, coaching staff included, committed to the interests of students. As I speak with athletes at our Ivy League schools and former teammates I’m noticing that other programs aren’t as vocal against issues like anti-Blackness. Fortunately, that isn’t the case at Cornell. Coaches support athletes safely protesting, and it’s nice to walk alongside teammates at rallies. Sometimes we get caught up in the Cornell track bubble and we forget that it’s bigger than running. It’s about bonds we make as we work together towards something greater than ourselves.
Solomon’s persistence through his time at Cornell and through this summer has only strengthened his outlook, his drive, and his desire to succeed. He has been consistently progressing. At this rate, one can only imagine what great things he will accomplish.