(Photo provided by Ryan Miller)
How did you get started as a track athlete?
As a freshman, I had no idea which extracurricular activity I would select in the spring. I narrowed my choices to tennis or track and field, both of which were new to me. I saw Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin running in the Olympics, and I contemplated whether or not I could see myself run fast like them. It took some time, but I finally joined the track and field team, and I don't regret my decision one bit.
What was your most memorable competition?
My most memorable competition was the NWSC Conference Finals during my junior year. I had recently set a personal record in the 100-meter dash in the preliminary round, and I was excited to race against several formidable competitors. After the finals, I sprinted over to my coaches to get an update on my time. It turned out that I shattered the 11-second barrier and ran a 10.95 second 100-meter dash. I'm not usually a person known for celebrating wildly, but after I heard the news, I was absolutely ecstatic.
Who were your competitors in your track career?
The most memorable and toughest competitors include Evan McClellon, Denzel Brown, Derick Sneh, the boys from Centennial High School, and many more.
What was your greatest accomplishment as a track athlete?
My greatest accomplishment during my high school track career is breaking the Totino-Grace 100-meter dash record. I set the goal of beating the school record for myself at the beginning of my senior season, and by the end of the year, I ran fast enough to beat it and establish my name in the school's record books.
If you could do it over again, what would you change about your track career?
I would increase my overall dedication to the sport during my earlier years of track and field. During my freshman and sophomore year, I was a bit apathetic because I did not think that I was very good at track and field. However, as I began to work hard and eat right, my times started to improve, and this fueled my passion for the sport. If I had developed a deeper desire to run track as a freshman, I may have trained during the off-season, and experienced even more success.
How have your coaches been an influence to you as an athlete and a person?
All of my coaches have helped me develop a stronger discipline and respect for track and field. They have taught me to work harder than I actually believed I could, to overcome challenges, and have helped me become the person that I am today. Lastly, they have inspired me to continue to pursue the sport and run faster than I could imagine.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
I had to overcome several injuries that developed as a result of working hard during practices. My coaches knew exactly how to help my body heal, and gave me tips on how I could recover quickly. After following their advice, I was as good as new, and continued to run as fast as possible.
What will you miss the most about high school track?
I will mostly miss my friends and track coaches, especially when they cheered from the sidelines and the bleachers. They also gave me encouraging words of wisdom, which helped me focus before my races and know what to do on the track.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
First, think about your goals, then think about what you need to do in order to reach them. Always remember what you need to do to reach your goals, and why you are doing it. The work is bound to get more difficult, but with enough practice and dedication, you will achieve your dreams.
What are your post-graduation plans?
I will attend St. John's University, and plan to participate in track and field, and double major in music composition and biology. I also look forward to studying sports management in order to become a track and field coach.
Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
I would like to thank everyone that has helped and inspired me to get to where I am today. Without their help, my success would not have been possible. I personally want to thank Coach Bennington and Coach Million for helping me do my best and strive for my goals. I would also like to thank Coach Beach for helping me develop a strong passion for this incredible sport. Lastly, I would like to thank my teammates and family for the greatest support that a guy could ask for. Thanks so much for a fantastic season! Go Eagles!