After joining the track team in the ninth grade, senior Josh Syrotchen quickly realized he didn’t enjoy running at all. In fact, he hated it. He took up throwing in high school, he said, as something to pass time, something to do.
“I always thought I could be this good, I just didn’t know when it would happen,” Syrotchen said. “In high school, I really thought more seriously about competing in college, and here I am today.”
It has never been an easy road though. Syrotchen puts countless hours of hard work into his training, and some days are harder than others.
“There are more bad days than good days, but you have to make the most of the bad days,” Syrotchen said. “Find the good in the bad and make the most of the practice; don’t let your work ethic drop because you maybe had a bad day.”
Syrotchen has always had a passion for helping others and plans on pursuing a career in coaching. He would prefer to coach either high school or collegiate track, perhaps even football.
“I think a big part of why I’m so passionate about coaching and helping others is thanks to my high school track coach,” Syrotchen said. “He helped me so much and we’re still friends today; I just want to be that person for someone one day.”
Syrotchen gives all the credit to others who have helped him along the way, particularly Coach Guymon and Coach Meg. Beyond his coaches, the athletic trainers are also contributing factors to his success. Having been recently injured, Syrotchen uses the training room on a daily basis.
“It’s funny and kind of like my ritual now, but I always have to get a release from Taylor Adam,” Syrotchen said, laughing. “I’ve done it three times, and every time after, I’ve had three PR’s, so I think something is working there.”
Syrotchen was named GAC thrower of the week this past week in all of Division II. He also has already qualified for nationals, being the first Division II discus thrower to do so, so far this year.
“If I could go back and tell my younger self anything it’d be, ‘Don’t be so full of yourself; don’t be so cocky,’” Syrotchen said. “Always be happy with where you are. Don’t get caught up in where you want to be so much.”
His throw of 194 feet, 8 inches won the Rhodes Invitational by more than 15 feet, his 12th career event title in discus. His throw was just short of his personal best and the school-record throw of 198-08 last season.
“My goal is still to get to 200 feet, which I technically already did, but it was in the summer,” Syrotchen said. “That will be my goal for the rest of the season, to actually accomplish that in a meet.”
Syrotchen’s discus mark was the farthest on the week by any athlete across all collegiate levels, by over a foot. Syrotchen also had the third-best discus mark on the week with a throw of 57.10m (187-4).
“I try to help my teammates out when I can, even at meets, I help different schools,” Syrotchen said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t try to fix it now,’ because that’s when they’re under pressure; It’s important to focus on improving during practice when there’s no pressure on you — then the results will come.”
His fifth-place finish in discus was his personal best (15.74m) and is the 13th best in Division II. He also placed fourth at the Rhodes Invitational in the weight throw, recording a toss of 46.61m (152-11).
“If I’m at nationals, then I’m there to win it. It just depends on the competition though, really,” Syrotchen said. “When it comes to other meets, if someone beats me, good for them. They did better than me.”
Most recently, Syrotchen won the discus for the second straight weekend. On his first of six throws, Syrotchen recorded the winning mark of 190 feet, 7 inches, marking his 13th career event victory in the discus. Syrotchen also won the shot put for the first time in his career. His mark of 49-02.50 won by more than two feet.
“You never get anywhere by cutting corners; there are going to be lots of hard turns,” Syrotchen said. “The hard turns mean that something great is about to happen though, you just got to keep going.”