Almost four months after setting a world record for running a mile while dribbling a basketball, Guelph’s Tennessee Tremain has signed on to run, minus the basketball, for the Monmouth University Hawks of West Long Branch, N.J., in NCAA track and field and cross-country competitions.
He signed his letter of intent in a socially-responsible ceremony earlier this month on the stairs outside Guelph CVI, where he’s a Grade 12 student.
“In general, the day and the ceremony was really, really amazing,” he said.
“I had my family show up including grandparents, aunts and uncles. I had a couple friends show up and a couple teachers which was really awesome for me because they're all the people who have supported me for so long and they're the ones who have gotten me to the point where I have these opportunities so it was really, really good to have them all there. The signing that I did is just as much attributed to the work I put in as to the work that they put in.”
Recruiting and deciding on a university to attend is a little different in these current times as in-person visits to U.S. schools are out of the question.
“It was sort of a little bit disappointing that I wasn't able to visit a school in person, but I definitely know that some of the schools I talked to and especially the one I'm going to really made it easy for me and they really did all they could so that I did get a full experience and experience I could have had if I was on some sort of live tour,” Tremain said.
“I have not been to the school, but I'm hoping that once all this COVID-19 situation simmers down a little bit and it gets a little bit less threatening to so many people and maybe the border's open, I'm looking to go and visit and see it as soon as possible. Of course, it's not that easy at this point. I've been on a sort of video campus tour and I've seen the campus from every single direction, every which way, online. I will be real excited to see it in person for the first time, but as of right now I have not seen it.”
Tremain is a reigning OFSAA champion on the track when he won the junior boys’ 3,000 metres title when the Ontario provincial high school track and field championships were held at Alumni Stadium early in June, 2019. This year’s OFSAA championships that were to be held in Toronto were cancelled.
The 17-year-old is looking to concentrate on computer science at Monmouth.
“I'm really into that sort of thing,” he said. “I'm also really into things like math and physics and that sort of thing. There is a particular computer science program at Monmouth University which sort of encompasses it all which I thought was really, really neat. I do love computer science, computer programming, computer ideas and concepts and I thought that was really good. Being able to be able to do that with taking a lot of math courses in my mind is just the perfect sort of course that I would like to take.”
Yes, Tremain is a bit of a computer geek.
“I definitely am,” he agreed. “I love working on problems and having problems in my head and being able to figure them out. In particular, computer programming where it's a lot of logic and concepts involved, that's right up my alley. I love having a problem being given to me and just working a while to try to think my way through it and solve it somehow.”
While sports at school have been a no-go this year, Tremain has managed to get in a competition or two running for his Laurel Creek Track and Field Club.
“Athletics Ontario hosted a couple of regional meets and they did a fantastic job with the COVID-19 protocols with social distancing and group numbers. It was really, really well done,” he said.
“We might have been sent out in groups of eight, I think, so I was able to get a little bit of competition in there. Still, it's not ideal and it's not generally what you'd be looking for in a season, but special props to my coaches, other coaches and the people setting up the meet for Athletics Ontario because it was really, really well run."
Tremain won the U18 boys’ race with a gap of more than 15 seconds to the second-place finisher. His Laurel Creek teammates combined to win the team title as the team had five runners finish in the top 13 and seven in the top 20.
“I did pretty well,” Tremain said. “I did end up coming first in the U18 boys' in what would be the West Regional meet. Also our team for the U18 boys also won which was really amazing. It was awesome having all the guys running really well throughout the season and to finally put it all together as a team because everyone had been working so hard. It was just really amazing to see everyone sort of succeed all at the same time. That was really amazing.”
Another thing really amazing for Tremain and all the other participants was just getting to compete.
“Competition is just something for so many people, especially me, that really sort of gets you going,” he said. “It's something that inspires me and inspires a lot of people so to be able to actually compete for the first time in a while, it really got me excited and it got a lot of people excited. To have those opportunities for competition, especially at a time like this, it's just something that I was really lucky to have the opportunity to compete. It was amazing. I love competing and the way they set it up was incredible.”
Now Tremain will concentrate on both his academics and athletics as he gets ready to begin his time at Monmouth.
“To get ready to go, I'm going to continue to train with my club,” he said. “I'm going to continue to stay active and continue running and pursue everything that I'm excited and inspired to do and motivated to do.
“In terms of school, I'm also a very academically-driven person and I really enjoy learning so throughout this final year of my high school, I'll be extremely engaged. There are several courses I have to take and am extremely interested to take. I feel like both athletically and academically, I'm going to stay super engaged because I'm motivated and inspired to continue through both of them. To get ready for going away next year, I think I'll be pretty prepared.”