Jeshua Anderson – Washington State/Team USA Track and Field

“I was an only child but my dad had 9 siblings so I got beat up on all the time by my older cousins. I had a competitive mindset so I hated losing. My Dad would tell me, ‘If you want to play on a team you’ve gotta work hard. I’m not going to talk to a coach and convince him to play you, you’ve gotta earn it.’ I always wanted to work harder than my peers.”

“My first love was football so I didn’t really do much outside of that. My freshman year our head coach forced us to run track. I figured I’d just run track to stay in shape and pass time before football season. I was a late bloomer, so I honestly didn’t even see that I had a gift until late junior year. That’s when I really started taking my talent to the next level.”

“I remember breaking the national high school record in the 300 hurdles so I signed up to go to junior nationals in order to make the Pan-Am junior team. On my way there I missed my flight. I really wanted to make a USA team so I think that gave me a lot of hunger to make the next one. Soon after I did qualify for the World Junior Championships. We flew out to Poland which was such an amazing experience. To travel the world at 18, I was like ‘I want to keep doing this.’ After making that first one I was just craving to make more.”

“I remember breaking the national high school record and then coming to college and just thinking, ‘Man I just don’t want to become someone that gets forgotten.’ I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen to me. When I got to college it was easy. My first race I lost because I was timid but from there on I locked in. I can probably count on one hand how many times I lost in college. It was just crazy. I never felt I had a target on my back, I just felt like I wanted to do even better than I had before.”

“I think it was a little bit of disappointment to be so close to making the Olympics. In 2016 I felt like I had a really good season and it didn’t pan out how I wanted to. That was my third olympic trials. The one I should have made was in 2012. I opened up the year as the world leader in March. I was running extremely fast and was coming off of winning USA’s and making the World championship team. I pulled my hamstring a week before trials, and that ended my opportunity to make the team. I had my family out there to watch me run and it just didn’t happen the way I’d like it to. The time I ran in March would have gotten me to the podium. I would have been one of the three to make the Olympics that year, so I think that one hurt the most because I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. “

“To be so close was tough. At the end of the day there are eight people in the race and you gotta do it that day. Everyone is praying for the same outcome and you have to live with what comes. After the year was up, emotionally I was drained. Making the Olympics in track is like having an NBA draft every 4 years, but only three people get drafted. It’s super hard to make the USA team because everyone in that race is probably top 15 in the world. At the time, I was disappointed but looking back at it I know I put everything into that season and had a lot to be proud of.”

“I think sports have done a lot to put people in the same arena regardless of differences. It’s done a lot in terms of pushing the envelope to address racism which is super cool to see. A lot of people had to pave the way for me to be able to travel the world and run in different countries and run against different ethnicities. That being said, I think everybody needs to be educated on the regular. Racism has been happening a long time. A lot of people just haven’t seen it on display, but it happens all the time. I will continue to pray about it. It’s something only God knows but I’m looking forward to some change. I’m sure it’ll be slow, but a slow change is better than no change.”

“Something I stress to my athletes a lot is to enjoy every moment. I didn’t always take advantage of doing that. I was so caught up in being the best that I could and always focusing on the next that I never really got to enjoy my success. Enjoy looking back on all you’ve accomplished and enjoy your journey.   Be coachable, have an open mind, and work hard. At the end of the day, that’s the best advice I could give.”

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