Northern Arizona and HOKA ONE ONE runner Luis Grijalva has officially been approved to run the 5,000-meter race in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for Guatemala.
A 22-year-old DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, Grijalva moved to the United States when he was very young. Though he qualified for the Olympics weeks before, it was uncertain whether he would be allowed to travel back to the U.S. after heading to Tokyo.
“Even though my roots started in Guatemala, in some ways I feel as American as anybody else who was born here. DACA takes away my freedom of ever leaving the country and be able to come back in. I have been selected to represent Guatemala in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It would be an honor and a privilege to represent my home country but also be able to be a voice and represent over 600,000 Dreamers like me,” Grijalva said on his Instagram page.
Caseworkers in the Office of Congressman Tom O’Halleran pressured the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and expedited the paperwork to allow Grijalva to compete, according to a press release from O’Halleran’s office.
“I am so excited for Luis and his ability to compete in Tokyo. He is an inspirational person to many," said Jessica Smith Bobadilla, Grijalva's attorney. "I hope Congress can act soon to further protect the dreams of others like Luis. We thank Representative O'Halleran’s office for their continued effort to secure the travel document."
“Young DREAMers are our neighbors, students, doctors, and teachers, and they deserve stability and access to the tools needed to pursue their dreams,” added O’Halleran. “I applaud the hard work of caseworkers on my staff to help advocate for Luis and secure the permissions need(ed) to get him to Tokyo to pursue his dreams.”
Grijalva will race in the 5000m preliminary on Aug. 3 and potentially in the final on Aug. 6.
The dream of becoming an Olympian became a reality for Northern Arizona soccer head coach Kylie Louw at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Louw joined the South African national team in 2006, and was nominated as the "South African Player of the Year" in 2010. Two years later, alongside her teammates, South Africa qualified for the Olympics for the first time in team history.
As a young girl, Louw dedicated most of her time to improving her soccer skills and taking the right steps to put herself in the best position of achieving her goals.
"It's a dream, but it's also hard work. From a very young age, I was in the national team and the core group, so it was a team dream to make it to the Olympics because it would have been the first time we did that for our country," Louw said. "It was an incredible feeling once we did. I helped out on some penalty kicks to help us qualify."
The road to qualifying for the 2012 Olympics was long, and it gave Louw a lot to apply to her career today.
While all the work paid off once she reached the games in London, Louw said there is more to be done even after reaching a goal.
"You can prepare and prepare for your entire life for one thing, and you can either go and make it or break it. Some of that is in your control and some of it isn't," Louw said. "I felt like I performed very well, and my takeaway was if you really want to go and do something and get there, it's more than that."
Louw added that the next step is to make a difference once you have reached the point you were striving toward.
"A lot of times we have a goal of getting somewhere, and then you get there and then what? I never just wanted to go to the Olympics, I wanted to go to the Olympics and win and perform," Louw said.
Louw remembers a lot from her time as a part of South Africa's national team. She uses her experience and knowledge that she gained in her everyday coaching and interactions with her players.
"I think the biggest thing for me is to enjoy the reward. Life is hard, soccer can be hard, performing is difficult. The ride to play in the Olympics is a very difficult one, and I feel like life is the same way," Louw said. "Soccer is a team sport, but you have to have accountability to do whatever you can for your team to go above and beyond, give your team something more than maybe just the average person is doing."
Northern Arizona women's tennis head coach Ewa Bogusz added one more player to the Lumberjacks roster for the 2021-22 season, signing Laura Duhl from Poland.
Duhl joins the Lumberjacks as they return five of their six primary players from the 2021 season. Annabel Davis and Sofia Markova will join Duhl as newcomers to the program, with the former signing in November and the latter originally signing in August.
"I'm thrilled to add Laura to our team. With the success she's had playing on the Polish national stage, she will bring a lot of experience and competition to the team," Bogusz said. "We have a lot of talent coming in this year, and I can't wait to continue working on bettering this team on and off the court."
During her juniors career, Duhl ranked as high as No. 4 in Poland's under-18 rankings. She also ranked as high as No. 690 in the ITF Junior Rankings, with the career-best mark coming in January 2020. She was ranked at No. 804 at the end of 2020.
She also won Poland's Under-18 National Championship in doubles while finishing third in singles. She also reached the semifinals of the ITF Zilina Junior Open in Slovakia in 2019.