What motivated you to start at AFS and how did you hear about us?
I started AFS when I was a sophomore in high school, I was on the basketball team and during our lifting sessions I noticed that I was really not on the same level as some of my other teammates. I wanted to improve, so my Mom suggested AFS because she used to go to classes when I was much younger. I decided that I wanted to try it out because I wasn’t confident in myself and wanted to become more fit and stronger.
What was your biggest fear before you started?
My biggest fear before I started at AFS was literally that I would not be able to lift weights and that I would not be able to improve because my body could not physically do what I wanted it to do. Going into my first class I was really nervous about getting embarrassed. I overcame that fear by just focusing on my own goals. Also, the strength coaches at AFS encouraged me to focus on my improvements and not my shortcomings, they still do to this day. Whenever I was self-conscious or didn’t think I could do something, they always supported me and pushed me to get a little better every workout.
What keeps you coming back to AFS?
Progress!! Even now that I’m in a collegiate track program AFS keeps me in shape and prepared to go for the season. The results that I have seen over the years have been great, but also the people at AFS have kept me coming back as well. Many of the trainers and fitness coaches made me feel like they were invested in me and in my success. AFS’ support gave me the confidence to realize I have the power to reach and exceed my goals. Having that support really made it easy for me to want to come back year after year.
You came to us as a Basketball player, but now you’re in collegiate track and field. How did that happen?
I had gone into my senior year planning on only playing basketball, by the end of my basketball season I had decided that I wanted to attend Butler University just because I liked the campus and programs so much. I had no idea I would run track at all at that point. When our basketball season didn’t go well, I decided I needed to do something to go out on a high note in high school. I decided to do track just because I knew our team was always solid and we had some good coaching. I actually started the track season by only long jumping. I was mediocre at best but it was something to do. Then one day, one of my friends told me to enter in the 100-meter dash, it was 50% a joke and 50% so I wasn’t sitting around for 3 hours, I had no intention of being successful. That race was the first step I took towards being a college athlete. I was in one of the last heats of the day (they get slower as they go on) and I ended up finishing about 40 meters ahead of the pack which prompted my coaches to notice me (on a team of 80+ guys it takes something like that to get noticed). After that, things just kept picking up and moving faster. By the end of the season, I was a state champion and a school-record holder. My coaches and teammates urged me to contact different college coaches, but my mind was set on Butler so I only made one call. That call was to my current coach Robby burns. I am still very new to the sport compared to all of my teammates, but I love it and I try my hardest every day to be the best competitor that I can be.
What was your biggest obstacle you overcame to achieve your success?
I think that the biggest obstacle that I had to overcome was my own self-doubt. I didn’t take many things seriously when I was in high school. Athletics were never a huge priority even though I thoroughly enjoyed being part of varsity teams. I knew that school was most important because I thought once I got out of high school, that would be it as far as sports go. I doubted that I would be able to participate in collegiate athletics in any division, let alone Division 1. I overcame my obstacle of doubting myself by being surrounded by a great support system of my family, friends, coaches, and teammates. I was encouraged by all the people around me to follow my dream no matter if I thought it was attainable and they helped me believe in myself.
How has AFS changed your approach to training?
I used to believe that the more weight you lift the more muscle mass you would put on. So at school, I tried lifting way too much with absolutely terrible form because I thought the bigger weight was more impressive and would allow me to get bigger. Almost immediately after arriving at AFS did I realize that lifting too much was a pretty bad approach to making the improvements I wanted to make.
What advice would you give other athletes looking to start with AFS?
TRUST THE PROCESS, it cannot be said enough whether you’re playing a sport or training for that sport. Change and improvement are not going to happen in one day, trust the process and trust the people around you to put you in the position where you can be most successful. Also, be flexible and able to change your mindset. A lot of the time I thought I was supposed to be going in one direction when really I needed to be doing the complete opposite, I played basketball all four years of high school and it wasn’t until my last few months of the senior year that I found out that I was meant to run track.
What is your “WHY”?
-My WHY is summed up by three letters “FFT” which are written on a band on my wrist that I wear every day. The first F stands for faith because I have to put faith first in my life in order to be the person and athlete I want to be. The second F is for family because every day I want to be reminded who has helped me along the way and who I can count on whenever I need them. The T stands for team because, after God and my family, my team is what is most important. They help me strive to be the best I can be and they are my family away from home. Those three things are why I get up in the morning, why I train as hard as I can, why I run, and why I am extremely happy with my life.
What is your long-term goal? How do you envision yourself getting there?
My long term goal is to be a BIG East Champion, and I know that the hard work and training that I put in is what will get me there. Now I don’t want to be misunderstood while being a BIG East champ individually would be great, I mean that I want to be part of a championship team. I see how hard my teammates work and I know how successful we can be. In terms of my long term lifting goals, I want to continue to get stronger and stay healthy for as long as I can, and I feel that AFS will definitely help me achieve those goals. I expect a lot of myself in the future, but the thing I am looking forward to most is seeing my teammates and family meet their own goals.