What were some of the highlights from your high school cross country and / or track and field career?
All of my highlights throughout my high school career came during track and field as I did not participate in cross country in high school, but rather played football where I was a First Team All-Ohio Quarterback. My highlights include being named the Mansfield News Journal Track and Field Athlete of the Year, a two time school record holder in the 4x800m relay with a time of 7:58.90 and in the 800m with a time of 1:53.98 breaking the previous records by 15 and three seconds respectively!
I was also a 3x State Qualifier (2018, 2019, 2021), a 2x All-Ohioan in 2019 placing 8th in the 4x800m relay and 8th in the 1600m run, and a 2x All-Ohioan in 2021 finishing as State Runner-Up in the 4x800m relay in a time of 7:58.90 and finishing as the OHSAA D3 Boys 800m State Champion in a time of 1:53.98.
Discuss some struggles or adversity that you encountered along the way and had to overcome?
My biggest struggles came in 2021 during my senior season. Going into the season I had only one thing on my mind and that was winning a state title, the first individual men's state title for my school in 45 years. However, three weeks into the season I suffered a leg injury and was forced to sit out for two weeks. After those two weeks, where I only biked to try and keep my fitness. I came back and ran at our home Forrest Pruner Invite.
During the meet I lowered my 800m season best from 2:01.3 to 1:58.5, however I had come back prematurely and made the injury in my leg worse. I could not walk without a significant limp and could not run whatsoever and my coach, who is my father, and I started to panic and question if I was even going to be healthy enough to run at the end of the year.
My mental health was at an all-time low as I not only had to watch my teammates run amazing times and win meet after meet, but also began to think to myself that my dreams of becoming a state champion were over. However I refused to give up and let injury defeat me. For the next 5 weeks I devoted myself to getting back on the track in time for Districts, going to physical therapy and aqua jogging in the pool everyday.
As the week of the District track meet came around, I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. I could still feel some slight pain in my leg and had run a total of 6 miles in the six weeks leading up to the meet along with not racing for a month and a half. I came and shocked myself by running a 1:59 in the 4x800 relay and a 1:58.6 in the open 800m but still had some pain and did not know if my leg was going to hold up for the next two weeks with Regionals and State. Regionals brought back my confidence after winning the 4x800m, 4x400m and 800m in a new season best of 1:57.09 and I knew I just had to gut out one more week.
The following week I ran the meet of my life where I split 1:52.9 in the 4x800 relay, 49.8 in the 4x400 relay and dropped 3 seconds in the open 800m running a time of 1:53.98. This had been the biggest struggle / adversity in my entire high school sports career and it taught me so much about myself and what being mentally strong can do for an athlete.
Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being a part of your school's program?
Aside from competing, the best thing about the Crestview men's track team is the camaraderie and family atmosphere that the team has. This closeness that the team has is, in my opinion, why the program has been so successful over the past 4-5 years and will only continue to see more and more success as the years go on.
Who are the coaches and teammates from the past four years that you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank all of my coaches and teammates that I have had over the past four years and in particular Coach Tim Kuhn, Coach AJ West, Coach Garrett Dudley, Spencer Boggs, and Evan Bader!
What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
I plan on attending Hillsdale College in the fall of 2022 where I will be competing in NCAA D2 cross country, indoor track and outdoor track! I will be majoring in sports medicine. I have many goals but my biggest goal is going sub 1:47 in the 800m, winning a national title, and trying to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Trials.
What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
Advice that I would give to younger track athletes is to first off never sell yourself short. Set your goals high and do all you can to reach them. Setting low goals will result in you not becoming the best athlete you can be. Also the final piece of advice is to never sell yourself short in practice, as well. Make those workouts the highest quality you can and those easy days easy! You will only get out what you put in.