Senior track athlete chases dental dreams

Senior Dante Bassham started his collegiate track career in 2019 as a walk-on at the University of Detroit Mercy.

However, being a walk-on never held him back from finding success.

Four years later, he would hold one of the most successful Detroit Mercy track careers of his time.

“Being a walk-on has never been an easy task for anyone,” Bassham said. “I worked hard these past years to get to where I am today.”

While some would say track is a simple sport, Bassham says it is so much more than that. He explained that refining his form and technique have made him a better athlete in the long run.

“My biggest improvement would have to be technique and execution when it comes to competing,” Bassham said. “Of course from an outside point of view, people believe track and field is just running and jumping but there is way more to it besides putting one foot in front of the other.”

Bassham’s success eventually steered him towards an athletic scholarship.

Throughout his career, he has excelled in all four of his events: the 60m dash, 100m dash, 200m dash, and 4×100 relay.

In his 2022 season, Bassham was a member of the first place 4×100 relay team at the Outdoor Horizon League Championships. He later returned to the Horizon League Championship once again this year in his indoor season, picking up first place in the 60m and 200m dash. His performances earned him the title of Co-Horizon League Outstanding Performer.

“My heart was racing when the awards were getting announced and I did not once want to get my hopes up because I knew that there were so many other great athletes that were competing,” he said. “Once my name was announced, I was incredibly happy and proud with myself since I have come a long way with my track career.”

Bassham also put Detroit Mercy Track and Field in countrywide standing, by placing top 50 in the nation in the 60m dash.

While track consumes his life for now, Bassham looks forward to a successful career in dentistry.

The dental program was also a driving force in Bassham’s decision to attend the university.

“Their dental program had my attention for sure, so I wanted to go to a university that valued education and had a good reputation,” he said.

Growing up in New Baltimore, Mich., Detroit Mercy became the perfect home away from home for Bassham.

“It felt amazing since my family and friends can support me whenever there is a meet close to home,” said Bassham.

He continues to find inspiration from his loved ones.

“My family has been a huge backbone,” said Bassham. “I wanted our last name to be remembered and so far, I think I am doing alright with the things I have accomplished and will accomplish for the university.”