Track and field, cross country runner contemplates future
Fourth-year student Alex Agafonov discusses life before, during and after Roosevelt.
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 12:04
His favorite athlete is a basketball player affectionately known as the White Mamba. His favorite movie is about a black football coach’s fight for racial equality at a newly desegregated school.
Odd for a cross country guy?
But not unlike Brian Scalabrine, NBA champion and Chicago Bulls fan favorite, and Herman Boone, the legendary former Virginia high school coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans, Alex Agafonov hopes to help make history.
“The biggest reason for me coming here was to help build a program,” Agafonov, Roosevelt University track and field and cross country runner, said. “I have my own personal goals. But a bigger goal for me is to see how close we can get to some of our high team goals next year.”
Originally from Uptown on the north side of Chicago, Agafonov was an Illinois State Championship qualifier in cross country at Lake View High School. He moved on to Oakton Community College in the northwest suburbs where he ran for two years and became an Academic All-American. After getting his associate degree, Agafonov said he was more than happy to return to the city when Roosevelt announced the resurrection of its athletic program.
“I’m from the city. I missed the city. I wanted to be back in the city,” he said. “When I found out that Roosevelt was starting an athletic program, it was sort of the perfect storm.”
Agafonov got off to an impressive start with a top 10 finish in his debut. He finished an 8K course in eighth place and set a school record at the 13th Annual Forester Invitational. Before being sidelined from the track and field season this spring with a sports hernia, he was on an equally impressive run. Last fall he helped the cross country team to an eight-place finish at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships and missed earning a trip to the NAIA National Championships.
Getting to the national championship meet is one of his personal goals next season, but team improvement is at the top of his wish list.
“I’d like for us to finish in the top five,” Agafonov said.
Selflessness seems to be in the young man’s nature. He hopes to spend his career in school administration, helping guide the lives of young people.
“If my career goes the way I want it to, I’ll probably be an athletic director...or a school principal,” the fourth-year history student said. “I think you can do a lot as a teacher. But I think you can do a little bit more as someone who facilitates the process of helping people along.
In the meantime, Agafonov won’t be limiting himself to tracks and cross country courses.
Although only in the planning stages, he aims to build an online business similar to Groupon.
Not wanting to reveal too much too early, he said he hopes to differentiate his model from the deal and discount giant Groupon by developing stronger relationships with both clients and customers. A portion of any profits, he said, will go to local charities.
Ambitious and dedicated to bringing out the best in himself and everyone around him, Agafonov seems to have a bright future – academically, athletically and professionally. Albeit brief, he will fondly look back on his time at Roosevelt.
“Balancing...classes, practices and meets can be tough,” Agafonov said. “But overall... Roosevelt does a pretty good job of providing a good student-athlete experience.”