April 22, 2009
UCSB student-athletes are a special group of young men and women who also serve as great role models to the many fans and youth that support them in sports and in everyday life.
Each day more than 450 UCSB student-athletes compete in the classroom, compete in their respective sport and give back to the community.
This week's Great Example is freshman track and field thrower, Julian Samson. A Chula Vista, Calif., native, Samson took anything but the normal path to get to UCSB. After attending just one semester at Orange Coast College, commuting over 200 miles to get there in order to be closer to his father who was in rehab, Samson decided UCSB was where he wanted to be. After endless calls to admissions, the financial aid office and academic advisors, he was accepted for winter quarter.
When he chose UCSB for its outstanding athletics and academics, Samson became the first in his family to attend a university. A biology major, he aspires to become a doctor.
"I want to be the one that my family looks up to," he said. " I want to prove to them that with dedication and perseverance anything is possible."
Samson, a freshman, has begun his athletics career at UCSB with a bang, already qualifying for the Big West Conference championships in the discus. Although specializing in discus, he is also starting to compete in the hammer throw and shot put. While he admits there is a lot of work to be done in those two events, Samson is not one to shy away from a challenge. Obviously.
Samson took the time to answer some questions about himself.
1. What has been your biggest athletic accomplishment at UCSB?
Placing third at the Cal Poly invitational with a huge throw and a personal best of 150'1.
2. What is your favorite part of attending UCSB?
It has to be the people. With every person that I have met comes a whole new experience. I like the fact that just about every person I meet comes from a different part of the country and it is interesting meeting people with different backgrounds. I have made some great friends out here and I couldn't be happier.
3. If you could describe your experience at UCSB so far, in one word, it would be...
4. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Trying to play catch up. Coming here in January meant that I was one quarter behind everyone else. Trying to balance heavy training, technique, throwing, and school has been an extreme challenge. But I love what I do and it has been an awesome experience.
5. Favorite Isla Vista restaurant?
That is a very hard question. I really don't know. I guess it's a tie between Freebirds and Steak and Hoagie.
6. What pre-meet rituals do you have?
The day before most meets a few of my teammates and I usually eat at Steak and Hoagie, we get the PMC bomb. Usually the day of the meet I take a shower in the morning and before I throw I usually have a few laughs with my friends to get me relaxed.
7. Who is your biggest role model?
My teammate Nick Sheurman. He is an awesome dude, a great mentor, teacher, and the most determined man I know.
8. What is one thing most people do not know about you?
I lived in a foster home for three years of my life.
9. If you could use one word to describe yourself what would it be?
10. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love deep-sea fishing, body-boarding, Facebook, and hanging out with friends, making them laugh.
11. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be?
I would really like to meet any doctor that would be able to give me advice, tips, and the knowledge I need to become a doctor.
12. What is your biggest athletic goal? To make it to the NCAA Championships.
13. If you could not do track and field, what other sport would you play?
I would probably be playing baseball. That was my first love and if anything else probably football. I played inside linebacker all through high school and loved it.