Aly Conyers Is Taking Her Talents, And Voice, To Cal

HeathwoodHall's (SC) Aly Conyers is taking her talents to the West Coast with her signing to the University of California, Berkeley.

The senior made her National Letter of Intent official in front of friends and family Friday afternoon.

"I'm really excited," Conyers said. "I've never really been to the West coast except the first time I visited and it's a lot different than the South.

"I really fell in love with the campus and Coach [Charles] Ryan. I haven't met the head coach yet, but I know [Coach Robyne Johnson] is the second African-American female head coach of all D1 schools, so I'm really excited to be a part of a team like that."

Heathwood Hall is the 10th school Conyers has attended due to her father serving in the Army for 30 years. As a military kid, she's moved frequently throughout her life.

"The hardest part about the recruiting process was choosing if I wanted to be close or far away from home," she said. "But being a military kid, I've moved a lot, so moving again I've realized it's nothing more than the many times I've done it before, and I really just had to make that decision. Now, I'm going thousands of miles away."

During the quarantine season, Conyers ran a new personal best of 55.87 in the 400m for a US top 25 performance at the MVP Summer League Series in Virginia. She also owns a PR of 24.86 in the 200m.

With her current marks, she says she trusts that Ryan and the Cal coaches can get her to the largest of stages.

"The goal of course is to always make it to nationals," Conyers explained of reaching the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships. "I really feel like with the training partners I'll have and the good weather of California, I'll be able to do that. I like how [Coach Ryan's] training is a mix of sprint based and endurance based for the 400m and honestly, that really is my sweet spot."

Conyers said she selected Cal over other programs like Pittsburgh and Howard because of the Bear's balance of academics and athletics.

* Conyers ran 55.87 in the 400m outdoors in July against a talented girls field set-up for this race

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"The atmosphere of Berkeley is very academic centered, but it still has that sport and team aspect to it, which is what I really love," she said. "It's the number one public school in the country, so just being the powerhouse that it is really stood out over the others."

While balancing her training during the 2020 outdoor season, Conyers was on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter Movement in Washington, D.C. She orchestrated local events and founded an organization her brother called, Face of the Future, that organized rallies, marches and voter's registration drives.

Now that she's leaving her original battlegrounds of the East coast, Conyers views Berkeley as the perfect place to continue and elevate her social activism.

"I know that the Black Panthers were actually started at Berkeley," she said. "Just the history itself, both of Vice President Kamala Harris' parents attended Berkeley, it's very politically centered and I think that's really going to push what I want to do later in life.

"I'll have a lot of opportunities to meet influential people and get connections, so it's definitely going to help my activism. Also, it's a very liberal school ... Berkeley is going to be a safe space for me to speak my mind."

Last week when Conyers visited campus, there was a small protest going on.

Heading into her final season, Conyers is looking to break the South Carolina Class 3A High School state record in the 400m, which is 52.41. The mark was set in 1994.

Conyers  started taking her running seriously when she was a freshman, and by signing with Berkeley, Conyers has surpassed everything she thought possible.

"I'm definitely proud, I remember when I was little I used to say my goal was to break a minute in high school, but I'm so far past what I ever thought I was capable of doing," she said. "It all started when I lived in Canada and I was racing the really fast native Jamaicans, they were moving but I was keeping up with them, so I was like I might just be good at this."

* Conyers after winning an indoor 500m title in 2019

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