How did you begin your career throwing javelin?
Well, let’s see. I started my freshman year of high school. In Washington, we have javelin; I think it’s in about 19 states for high school, California doesn’t [have it]. I got the freshman state record for that year, and so unknowingly I passed it up and then was told later that I had broken the state record. So they told me to stop doing long distance and everything else, and just start throwing javelin.
As a high school freshman, you really started out quick with the junior Olympics and then coming in third in the state championship. How did you get to that level so quickly?
Well I always liked throwing things as a kid; mostly, I would get in trouble for them. I was a baseball pitcher, and then I did have a good freshman coach. After that, my second year, I had another coach, Lance Lotwright. He picked [me] up and he was probably one of high school’s big name coaches. He’s not really coaching now, but he helped come alongside me and helped me go to the junior Olympics. So I had two great coaches, Bob Gunman and Lance Lotwright.
What were the junior Olympics like? What was that experience like?
Well, I definitely drove from Washington for three days. Honestly, it wasn’t that good because I was in the car for three days, but it was definitely exciting to be on a national level throwing. It was just a good experience to be able to be under pressure like that and to learn how to compete under pressure, because that’s the way it is. It’s not just practice, but it’s competing under pressure as well.
Can you tell me a little about the 2007 state championship?
That was my junior year. That was when I had my top year that was before I was injured. That was very exciting because I was approaching the state record the whole year, and then at the state meet I was able to break the state record. That was truly awesome, and they marked my throw for 30 minutes because it was breaking the state record so they had controversy on the different things.That was cool to have an all-state, all-division state record.
What was going through your head when you realized that you not only won, but also broke the state record?
That was my goal—to get a PR (personal record)—and my PR was going to be the state record because it was literally inches more than that. That was my goal, to break the state record so it was cool, definitely a highlight.
Later on then you hurt your elbow at the Nike Outdoor meet in the summer; what led you to decide to sit out the season after your senior year?
It does say that I sat out, but by sitting out it was pretty much an injury year. I had pain all season, but I still came back. I only threw two meets before, and I still won the state championship my senior year. It was 21 feet under my best, so I was like cool, but it wasn’t half the experience it was as a junior.
But in 2009, you decided not to go into college competition.
Well, that was more because I had about 40 D-1 schools give me letters saying that they wanted me at their schools, which was crazy because I never had known half of them. I felt that God really clearly told me, and put the desire in my heart, to go into a discipleship program before going to a school with javelin. That was definitely a trust thing, and I was able to go down on a mission trip, and that’s really set a lot of the course of my life beyond just javelin. My plans were actually delayed because of financial issues for six months before I went to the honor academy of the discipleship program.
How did that year affect you physically, mentally and spiritually?
It was an awesome year, awesome foundation and very, very challenging. Physically, I went back and started running long distance because that’s what we kind of did at the discipleship programs just as a part of physical fitness as a whole program. I started running five to eight miles again. I dropped weight to 175 or 180, which is 20 under what I am now. It’s not too big of a deal, but I still had to come back then start training again back in early 2010. I was setting my hopes back to see if I could get back into college. I was off the radar, off everyone’s radar, and I had to re-prove myself in a way just to get back on the radar and prove that I am healthy past injury. Sometimes literally people will blow out their elbow so badly in the javelin that they don’t come back. It was definitely trust, and I had given up javelin, such that I didn’t know if I was going to go back to it.
That was what brought me to Azusa, [it] was the one connection that really got me here. I had never seen campus; I had never seen anything down here so that was a huge trust thing. Up while I was there I was looking at schools, and I was talking to coach Kevin Reid on the phone. He was saying that he wanted me, but being that this is a private school and I only had $17,000 accounted for and I needed $17,000 more, I had no idea how I was going to get that. I felt like God was saying go through the door, and as I looked at it, it was a locked door. I felt like he was saying ‘go and pursue it,’ and then everything — all the paper work, all the financial aid — the door was opened up.
I came down 10 days before school started, and I was going to come here never seeing Azusa Pacific before. That was clearly a wild journey from rural, backwoods Washington. I should have told everybody that I was a freshman, but I had some credits from high school. Anyways that’s another story about getting acquainted here with the academic setting. That was definitely a trust of saying leave, leave what you know and come to a whole new place.
What was winning the NAIA national championship last year like?
Last year I was literally taped up every meet except for the first and the last. I consider it an injury year, and I always have hopes to go 230-240 feet range. I threw not anywhere near my best, but I still won the national championship. So that was exciting, but knowing my personal best, I want more and I’m hungry for more. That’s how I view it; it’s great and it was a blast, but I know career-wise, there’s still more to come.
Do you feel prepared for NCAA Div. II competition?
I don’t know if I’m going to be able to see it. I get to see it in part this year, but since we don’t have a championship this year, I won’t see the championship side of it. Even as we’re going to the NCAA National Championship, I am going to keep my eye on what’s happening in the D-2 and how I would rank in the D-2. I want to be at least top five, maybe even top one if everything is going well, and my elbow is handling the training better this year than the last two years. Javelin is not my main focus at all; javelin is one pursuit in my life that I love. It has its pains, literally. It is a journey to go through chronic injury, and still be doing well enough that you’re top in the nation, but still have that want for more. I have great potential for javelin still.
Anything else you want to say?
My first heart is to go internationally with missions, like northern India, to unreached people groups. That’s my first goal; this is all part of the journey God has for me. It’s not necessarily linear, but it’s the journey which is usually a pretty unorthodox route that he has us take oftentimes. He’s developing my heart to learn how to serve, and I’ve been so blessed in my life that my response is ‘how could I not do this, how could I not go out and tell others how much God loves us?’