Track and Field student-athletes surpass expectations in every way

Jasneet Nijjar, Samuel Griffith achieve academic honors, even with busy schedules


Courtesy of WSU Athletics

Sam Griffith running through a water ditch during a steeplechase event

ALENA RINEHARDT, Evergreen reporter

As many highschool teachers have been known to vocalize, college is hard and can be much more difficult than high school. Whether you agree with them or not, balancing school with everything else that life entails can be difficult for many. Adding participation in a sport on top of it all can add an element that makes time management and balancing aspects of life even more arduous. 

Two WSU track and field student-athletes, Jasneet Nijjar and Samuel Griffith, both made it as United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association Team All-Academic honorees as well as onto the 2022 Spring Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll. These are no small feats. 

The USTFCCCA Team All-Academic honorees are selected on both academic and athletic performance. Regarding academics, individual honorees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher and at least one year at their university. 

For the athletic portion, honorees in the indoor season must finish in the top 96 of any individual event or top 48 of any relay event and for the outdoor season. They must compete in a round of the NCAA Championships or for multi-events finish in the top 48 of the West Region, according to

To make it onto the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll, it is stated that student-athletes must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above and have attended WSU for at least a year. The student-athletes were named to the 2022 Spring Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll during their respective season, according to Washington State Athletic Communications

Jasneet Nijjar is a 21-year-old from Canada who specializes in sprints for WSU track and field. She is double majoring in both kinesiology and psychology.

She is able to balance both track and school, she said it took her awhile to figure out, but after freshman year she created a schedule that works for her. Although it can be difficult when she manages to stray from her schedule, such as during breaks when she travels back home to Canada. 

“I have a routine established here and if I get off that routine I kind of, like, throw myself off,” Nijjar said.

Nijjar noted freshman year as being difficult for her to overcome time management when dealing with academics, track and her social life. She felt that she really focused on track, which was important, but started to stray from focusing on the other aspects of her life that were just as important.

“I was a lot like track, track, track my freshman year and that kind of led me to a mental space that I didn’t want to be in,” Nijjar said. 

What helped to change her outlook and help her to focus on different aspects as equally as possible was that she fully believes in balance and finding that balance within all of that she does. Her final words of advice were to remember that it is okay to have fun as well. 

Griffith is a senior and specializes in running distance for WSU track and field. He is currently majoring in marketing and international business and is studying abroad. 

When asked why he chose to attend WSU and run track here, he said that the team aspect, community feel and an entire city rooting for the WSU logo on his chest are what inspired him and made him feel that this is where he was meant to be. 

While he loves running and participating in track and field, he also expressed his passion for learning about other cultures, inspiring him to travel and study abroad this semester. He said that his parents have always “championed” for him to learn about other cultures, and he also grew up attending a French immersion school resulting in him being bilingual in French. 

Griffith said that choosing International Business as his major seemed like a great opportunity for him to continue to follow his passion for culture and travel.

While studying abroad, he is still training for track and field and has completed in a 10k race while away, along with another teammate that is abroad with him. Griffith said that he values his academics highly and is still striving for excellent marks, even while studying abroad. 

“I have an older sister who was always academically very strong and my parents let me know it from an early age,” Griffith said. “I think there has always been an expectation to strive to get good grades.” 

Similarly to Nijjar, Griffith references his freshman year as one of the hardest when it came to figuring out how to manage academics and athletics within time management for everything going on in his life. He said that having a support system was a game changer and very helpful, as at times it can be easy to have tunnel vision. 

Griffith referenced many of his teammates who stood out in his support system. 

“I was lucky enough to live with a couple of my older teammates as a sophomore and I got to kind of see how they worked because I had never really formed good study habits so I really learned from them,” Griffith said.

He also spoke highly of WSU’s athletic resources and those who have helped him figure out classes. He said that if he ever needed any help, he knew that he could always turn to someone in athletics to support and guide him. 

“If it’s a good day then I can be happy about that, if it’s a bad day then I can try to learn from it. You have to wake up and do the same thing the next day anyways so I focus on trying to do the best I can,” Griffith said.