By Michael Myers
Effective leaders have a unique ability to lift and inspire those around them. For Southern Virginia University freshman and track & field standout, Mesi Havea, this is no different. It may be in the form of a charismatic smile, or in the weight room where she has a tendency to make many of her teammates stand in awe. In any case, it stems from a desire to always work a little bit harder – or to throw a little bit further.
"I am very competitive,” Havea commented. “All throughout school and track, my mom set the expectation so high. We were always told we could do better, and I want to be the best.”
Havea just became the first athlete in the women’s program history to win a Capital Athletic Conference individual title. The top discus thrower set a CAC record with her 41.49-meter throw and became the first freshman to win the event since 2014. She finished fifth in the conference with a shot put throw of 11.21 meters. During the year, Havea was the first Knight to be named CAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week.
Mesi Havea was born in Arizona and raised in Utah, but her parents hail from New Zealand and Tonga. As a member of the Southern Virginia University Polynesian Heritage Association, she is passionate about her culture and where she comes from.
“The Polynesian Association is a major support group,” she said. “Families are so important, and Polynesians love to be around their own people. We all have different interests, but it helps us stay both intact and on track.”
Her passion for her family is not just limited to direct familial ties. Havea served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fort Worth, Texas for 18 months. It was here where she felt she developed a sincere love and passion for others.
“Being a missionary helps you stay disciplined and work hard. There are rules and standards, and you try your best to achieve those things. Not because you want to be the best, but because you love God and love the people.
The same is the case with a shot put or discus in hand.
“I love track and field, and I love what I do; I do everything I can to express that.”
At any point in time, Mesi Havea can be seen singing and dancing with that charismatic smile. She somehow finds a way to have others join her as well, and like most leaders, she lifts them to new heights.