Antonio, it was quite the rise for you last season, including an IC4A runner-up effort in the decathlon. What do you attribute your breakout season to?
Honestly, coming off of a 15-event run during conference in Coastal Carolina, I cannot claim any of my success. I prayed going into the decathlon for Jesus to give me the strength to give it my best effort, and he answered my prayers with lifetime best efforts in the 400m, the Javelin, and the 1500m, and competitive marks in the high jump, long jump, and the pole vault. He keep me from any prohibiting injuries throughout my season and it ultimately led to a great performance at IC4A’s.
What can you tell us about what it takes, especially mentally, to compete in a multi-event - To see the scores, know your competitors strengths and still focus on what you can/need to do, etc.
In the multis it’s a very good trait to be optimistic, because rarely will you ever find one individual that is superb at all of the events, because usually body types prevent someone from being able to be extremely explosive as required by the javelin and the shot put, but also be nimble enough to blaze through the hurdles, and then lift their body into the air off of pure leg strength like in the high jump. You must know your own strengths and focus on improving what you are good at, to the best you can possibly be, and still continue working on the things that you aren’t so good at, so that you can become an all-around good multi.
Why did you choose VMI?
I cried myself to sleep many nights wondering this question. However, in the morning I woke up, put on my uniform and gave each day my best effort, because I know that this challenge in my life is something I picked to make myself stronger. In James chapter 1 verses 2-4, it explains that various trials in life are meant to make a person stronger, and that through these struggles you learn how to become complete as person, lacking nothing. If I wanted an easy life, never worrying, never struggling over difficult tasks, I would have chosen any other college in the nation. However, I wanted the everyday struggles we face here that most people only experience once in their lifetime and learn so much from. I chose to go to VMI because I want to be prepared to lead my family into a successful future by being ready for any obstacles that life has to offer, if I’ve never experienced a difficult obstacle, then I could not be prepared for this task.
Can you share a particularly good VMI memory, your "best", as it were?
Honestly, I have a lot of favorite memories here, and to pick one seems to do the others an injustice, but if I had to choose it was meeting my rats for the first time after hell week and hearing them explain to me all of the things I know very well about this school. Being able to encourage and provide for them has been the greatest and most fulfilling thing that has ever happened to me at this school, as I am reminded everyday why I must succeed because of who is looking up to me for encouragement.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
As far as my goals for this upcoming season it is simple, I want to break the decathlon record for the school. I was close last year, but I could never put together all of my events in one meet.
How do you feel about the team as a whole?
The team this year looks very promising with all of the new recruits; they bring a lot of energy to practice and so much talent. I am expecting to see quite a few of them with medals around their necks come conference time this year.
If you could eat a meal with any three people, living or dead, who would they be and why?
Jesus Christ: To learn how to live a life pleasing to God
Martin Luther King Jr.: To learn how to overcome adversity
Adam: To question his decision making process