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Get to know Bellbrook alum, track and field athlete Hayden Bullock
Credit: John Wacker

Get to know Bellbrook alum, track and field athlete Hayden Bullock

BELLBROOK, Ohio — Football was my true love in high school. I played all four years. Needing to stay in shape during the off season, I grew tired of baseball and stumbled into track and field my sophomore year.

After graduating from Bellbrook High School, I went on to the United States Air Force Academy. I continued to play football for a year, but had to quit due to injuries. The athletic trainers told me that if I kept playing, I would be due for a knee replacement within 10 years.

Credit: John Wacker

I kept up with track and field, although staying dialed in and focused on the goal took me four years to master. During my junior year, I lost confidence and was constantly in my own head. I let my nerves get to me and finished 12th at the Mountain West indoor conference meet.

Doing a sport at a high level every day and not immediately seeing the results you want makes it hard to keep pushing. In the off season, I read books and talked to sports psychologists. Just one year later, I won that same meet! I’ll never forget the feeling of finally throwing a personal record of 59.35m in discus.

Credit: John Wacker

A lot of people have helped me over time. My first throws coach at the academy, Dana Lyon, made me decide to stick with track full time. I would have gotten cut anywhere else in the country, but she stuck with me. Major Paige Blackburn, my civil engineering teacher, was a school record holder and former Air Force World Class Athlete; she helped me a ton. Our new coach, Kyle Lillie, also propelled me to great success during my senior year.

My goal is to make the Olympic trials in 2024. I also want to reapply for the Air Force World Class Athlete program in 2026.

I do have a life outside of track and field. I love golfing and weightlifting. I also try to be a nice guy who remains laid back. I love to have fun and am always joking around! I wish the world could see how many falls and tumbles take place at a throws practice; it’s pretty entertaining.

Being able to come to practice every day for such an amazing program at an incredible school is an honor and a blessing. Showing up to compete at a high level, with the American flag on my chest, makes me very proud.

I have learned that with discipline, consistency and commitment, you can achieve anything in the world—especially beyond sports.

Awards/Recognition for 2022-23

• All-service academy (West Point, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy) discus record holder (59.35m)
• Ranked #23 in U.S. discus throwers/#140 in world discus throwers
• Ranked #50 in U.S. shotput throwers /#178 in world shotput throwers
• Mountain West champion (indoor shotput and discus)
• Mountain West runner-up (outdoor shotput)
• 2nd furthest indoor shotput throw in Air Force Academy history (18.12m)
• 3rd furthest outdoor shotput throw in Air Force Academy history (18.21m)

This is an unedited user writing submission. The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Best Version Media or its employees.

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