Feature photo courtesy of DyeStatCAL.
After taking the ball, proceeding to juke, jive, and breeze his way through defenders for a long touchdown run, Joseph Anderson, of Upland High School, caught the attention of coaches that were leading a nearby practice.
That run was no ordinary run. It changed everything for Anderson as he found his new calling, track and field.
“The track coaches took notice and asked my dad, ‘Does he run track?’ and he was like, ‘no,’ so they suggested to him that I should sign up. The next year, I signed up and I found my calling,” Anderson said.
The following year, Anderson was finally able to hurdle. At first things didn’t go the way he had hoped, as he suffered numerous defeats, but his coaches never lost faith in him because they knew that he had remarkable form.
“When I first started, I used to get beat a lot,” Anderson said. “My coaches told me, ‘you have great form, no one has form like you,’ so I started taking it seriously.”
With constant encouragement from his coaches, he started coming into his own. The next season was his and he delivered. Anderson qualified to try out for the USA Junior Olympics team, made the team, and was the youngest one to compete in the finals. However, that wasn’t enough for him. He had a 3rd place final finish and a club record on his mind instead.
“We went to tryouts for Junior Olympics. I made the team and ended up being the youngest one to compete in the finals, although I finished in 7th place,” Anderson recalled. “The following year, I ended up in 3rd place and broke the club record even though I was injured and then I kept pursuing it. I got a private trainer and kept getting better and better.”
Fast forward to 2016 and you’ll find Anderson with interests from over 25 schools, including the likes of UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, Arizona St., the University of Miami, and the University of Michigan.
Anderson, however, has not delved into his recruiting situation and does plan to until his USA World team trials and competition this summer. He currently does not have a list of top schools just yet. He is open to all schools and just wants to go on visits so that he can see which school feels like home, has the best fit coach, and can help advance his career pursuits after track.
“I plan to make visits late this summer and beginning of senior year, all the way up until October so that I would know by November,” Anderson said. “I have an open option for all schools right now. I just want to be able to go on visits and see which one feels more like home to me because I have to stay there for four years. I’m also considering which school has the best coach for me because I don’t just want to run track, I also want to advance, move on, and become professional under a company one day.”
When hurdling, Anderson is focused on being the first one to get out and over the first hurdle. After that, he is locked in on maintaining the lead and fixated on not making costly mistakes such as not bending down, not bending his trail legs, and not pumping his arms.
“My weakness as a runner is getting my hips up and thinking all the way through the race. Sometimes when the gun goes off, I’ll get out and do the first part, but then I’ll forget and stop thinking and just run when I actually need to think and go through the race,” he said.
Some of his notable performance records are the freshman class record, of 14.4 seconds, the sophomore class record, of 13.9 seconds, and the fastest time in San Bernardino County, of 13.59 seconds, which he captured in the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Anderson has had a phenomenal year this season after coming back strong from his hamstring injury. This isn’t enough for him as he has plans to lower his time down to 13.2 seconds and make the junior world team.
“My goals for the rest of the season is definitely to run that 13.2 and to make the junior world team and represent the United States of America in Poland and to break the overall state record,” he said.
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