5k XC: 16:03.56
2000m Steeple: 6:12.62
What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?
I was fortunate enough to be a member of a very successful distance program at St. Pius X, so I shared many state championship titles with my team. While at Pius, we won Track 2x and Cross Country 3x. As an individual, I was named All-Metro my junior year and was a 3x All State Track runner and 2x All State XC runner. I also had the fortune of competing with the nations best as a junior at New Balance Nationals. It was truly a blessing to be able to partake in all these victories with such a great team and coaching staff.
(photo by Dan McCauley)
Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?
Like all athletes, I had my fair share of struggles throughout high school, particularly my junior and senior years. During my junior year, I suffered from severe depression and narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder that essentially makes you exhausted all the time. It unfortunately ravaged my junior cross country and track seasons. However, I learned a lot during these periods and grew to be a stronger athlete. Once I became properly medicated for both conditions the summer before my senior year, I was incredibly excited to be my healthy self again and to show the world what I am capable of during cross. I had a great summer of training and was ready to go. Unfortunately, God had other plans and I sat out of my senior season due to a stress fracture in my right foot that left me in a cast. My chances of signing for a good college began to slim as I ran out of opportunities to race. My senior track season was my last time to race before college, and I was thankfully able to get a few great races in before COVID-19 hit.
Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being a part of your school's program?
The team atmosphere for sure. Even though we are teammates, we are also brothers. Outside of running, we are incredibly close and will be for years to come. The bond that distance runners have is unparalleled, and I am blessed to have been able to partake in that. Team culture is such a crucial aspect of training, and I am so honored to be a member of a team next year that has an amazing team culture. (go jackets!)
Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?
I would like to first of all thank my coach Ryan McClay. Coach McClay and I have had our share of ups and downs, but all great relationships do. McClay was constantly there to assist me into becoming a better runner and young man as well. His entire program is oriented into forming his athletes into successful people, not just runners. I also want to thank Coach Austin, Coach Katie, and my first coach, Coach Labudde. I would also like to thank the SPX state championship team of 2016. I was only an inexperienced freshman, and the senior heavy team welcomed me with open arms. They taught me so much and I am super grateful.
How are you coping with COVID-19 and the looming possibility that your HS track career might very well be over?
Quite frankly, it has not hit yet. I am using this quarantining period to work on the things that I don't really have time for during the busy school year and track season. I have been using it as a period of self growth and preparation for college as well. It is a true misfortune that we are not able to compete, but everything happens for a reason. I am just happy that I was able to race a few times before the season ended. For now, I am just focusing on training, health, and finishing my school year strong.
What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
I will be running Track and XC for Georgia Tech next fall!! I am truly honored to be able to attend and run for such a great school. The guys on the team are all really great athletes and people, and the coaching staff is phenomenal. I am excited to stay in Atlanta and grow as a person and an athlete with a new team.
What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
My main advice is that when misfortunes or blockades prevent you from succeeding, use that as motivation rather than letting it bring you down. Things will not always go your way, so when that happens, it is best to utilize the tools that God gave you and to get to work. Running is not easy, and neither is being good at it. It requires the utmost of mental toughness. Be confident in your abilities and run like you were made for it. Also, enjoy and savor every moment of your high school running career. It will be over before you know it.