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.
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.
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)
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