What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?
Winning state with my brothers at Hebron Christian my sophomore year was definitely a highlight of my career. I'll never forget the brotherhood we had and how down to fight we all were for each other. Placing 6th at State with my boys cheering loud for me at Berry was a moment I will cherish. Up in Minnesota, battling with my new team, Stillwater, for fourth in the state cross country meet was an incredible experience. Countless practices through the snow and cold with Stillwater made me stronger and fearless at the sight of any adversity.
Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?
Most definitely. My high school experience was split, freshman and sophomore year I raced for Hebron in Georgia, and junior and senior year I raced for Stillwater in Minnesota. The transition from Georgia to Minnesota was tough. One can talk all day about the harsh winters I had to adapt to, but the cultural differences were difficult to overcome as well. I know it has made me a better person and of course everything happens for a reason.
Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being a part of your school's program?
With Hebron, it was the pride we carried within ourselves. We walked into the building like we owned the damn thing. Something about our chemistry reflected such moxie, we were ready to fight for our brothers in a heartbeat. And that showed throughout both seasons I had the honor of running for Hebron. It all lead to our hard fought State Title in 2017.
With Stillwater, it was the respect our team carried within for ourselves, the sport, and our competition. Stillwater is a powerhouse historically and is a big name to back up. We knew we had a job to do. It was strictly business when taking care of our opponents on race day, swift and respectful.
Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?
Oh yes, first off I'd like to thank coach Mike Beaudreau. Coach Beaudreau will be a close friend of mine for the rest of my life. He has been there for me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've never met any coach that is as invested in their athletes as much as Mike Beaudreau. It was an honor running for him from 6th grade to the time I left my hometown, Dacula, the summer after my sophomore year. What I have become as a runner I would largely attribute to the foundation that was set by him. It saddens me to think of the dynasty we would have continued to build together if I would have stayed in Georgia. Sometimes God has other plans.
Before I had set foot in the state of Minnesota, I'd already gotten to know coach Scott Christensen over the phone. When I met him on my first day in Minnesota, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Scott is an absolute mastermind on the sport. I knew I would be in good hands running for Stillwater. Scott is a good man, from a different generation. I enjoy the long talks with Scott about life's issues, life's miracles, running, and sometimes even politics. He has helped so much with his incredible training and energy. He is a wise man and I appreciate that deeply. I thank him for all that he has done for me.
How are you coping with COVID-19 and the looming possibility that your HS track career might very well be over?
There's no sugar coating the fact that it's horrific. I hate it for my class of 2020, I hate it for my teammates, I hate it for my coaches, I hate it for everyone being affected by this. I hope we all come out stronger and more appreciative of every race we get the honor of racing.
What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
I remain uncommitted at the time but I plan on running in college for LSU, Charleston Southern, Troy, ULM, Clemson, Tennessee, or Alabama. I am headed down South no matter what. I love the sport and could not let my career end on the note of the entire track season being canceled. I look forward to racing my heart out for whichever college I run for.
What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
Live In The Moment. Time flies and if I have learned anything from the adversity I have been through it is to cherish the loved ones in your life and never to move on to quick from the current stages of life. Count your blessings and enjoy all your days on this Earth. Get close to your teammates, coaches, and family. Work hard and don't let excuses corrupt your work ethic. Treat every race like it's your last.