Majors: History and adolescent/young adult education
Sports: Men’s track and field; men’s cross country
I started running competitively in 7th grade. I then competed in track and cross country in high school for four years. I was a three-time varsity letter winner in cross country and a four-time varsity letter winner in track. My senior year of high school I served as a team captain for both the cross country and track teams. I then arrived at John Carroll, where I have competed for three years now. I even served as a team captain for cross country this past season. In track, I mostly do the 5K and 10K races. In cross country, I run 8K races.
How would you describe the Division Ⅲ student-athlete experience?
The Division Ⅲ student-athlete is a unique one. As a DⅢ student-athlete, I have been given the opportunity to compete in a sport I love for four more years while also having the chance to get a great education. It is basically the best of both worlds. DⅢ gives students the chance to compete at a high national level while also focusing on the passion a person has for learning. A DⅢ athlete is a student first and that is key to the experience. I have had wonderful opportunities to succeed in the classroom while also pursuing my sport.
Tell us about your relationship with your coaches and teammates.
I have made so many amazing friends through my sport. My teammates have become my best friends on campus. I love getting to hang out with everyone at every practice and to have the opportunity to grow closer with all these people. Athletics has given me a chance to become closer with all kinds of people from different areas and I am proud to call them my brothers. The coaching staff has been so supportive in developing me in sports and as a person. My coach, Kyle Basista, has been a great role model and support base for me. He has encouraged me to develop as the best athlete I can be as well as encouraging me to be my best in the classroom and as a young man.
Has your athletic participation shaped your educational experience?
Pursuing a sport in college over the last three years has helped me develop not only an insatiable intellectual passion for it, but also a mind for the game. On the course, I know exactly what I need to do, who is around me, and what myself and others are capable of. I have developed an appreciation for the small things as well — things such as the mechanics of form and drills that help make me the physically strongest and mentally toughest I can be on the course.
Sports have also developed my commitment to teamwork and hard work. Cross country is a unique sport in its scoring. The winner of a meet is determined not by which individual wins the meet, but by who has the fastest five guys. I have realized that an essential part of who I am is being the best I can for others and to work as a team. I have also learned that hard work is essential to my character. It has taught me that it is never easy to achieve everything you want, but if you work hard enough anything is possible.
As a captain this past season, I have had the opportunity to be a leader to my teammates. Leadership for me is about treating others fairly to help them to be their best, and to help be an example for others to follow and look up to. Whether it was talking to a teammate about his performance and how much he is valued, leading drills, or giving all I have, these things show and develop leadership. I have also had the privilege to learn from others’ leadership as well. Sports has taught me that anyone can be a leader. A leader is someone who sets a good example and wants what’s best for his team and himself. I have had the privilege to be around many people on the track and cross country teams that fit this model.
Is it hard to balance school and sports?
It is not actually that hard as long as you stay on top of your academics. I feel sports gives me a release from the stresses of school. Teachers are always willing to work with athletes to help them succeed in the classroom and on the field. As long as you communicate with your professors and stay on top of things using your time wisely, your experience will be amazing.
How is your relationship with coaches as a college athlete?
My coach, Kyle Basista, has been a great mentor for me. With Kyle it is the little things. He is always checking to make sure I’m feeling alright, to see how classes are coming, and to see how the running has been for the week. Kyle has given me a great amount of advice on how to develop as a runner and as a person and I will always cherish that. At practice he almost always reaches out to every single person to do these little checkups and to give advice. Because of these things, how hard he works, the example he sets, and always believing in me, Kyle has been an amazing role model and mentor.
What advice do you have for a high school student who wants to play a sport during college?
If you want to play sports in college reach out as soon as you can to coaches. The coach is there to help you with any questions you may have in the process and serves as that link you have to the collegiate level. Also, coaches are great at giving you advice and helping students understand the process. The other piece of advice I have is continue to develop the passion you have for the sport. College will challenge you in many ways and you have so many moments in which you can grow.
Specifically, why should a high school student choose John Carroll?
John Carroll is a one-of-a-kind university that is academically strong, has a great student body, and has provided numerous opportunities to its students. John Carroll has an amazing campus community and that is one of the main reasons I chose to come here. Whether it is fellow students, teachers, or administrators, everyone at JCU is amazing. The people here are very friendly and will always be there to lend you a hand with anything you need. At John Carroll everyone wants each other to succeed and it is that environment and community that makes John Carroll such a special place.