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Where are they now? James River’s Michael Albert

“You don’t have to necessarily aim for those high Power 5 schools as long as you’re still competing with them. So train like an underdog.”

ROANOKE, Va. – Michael Albert was a VHSL champion in shot put and discus his senior season at James River. He was also a school record holder in shot put who had one goal after graduating.

“Make it to a division one school. I didn’t want to settle for less because I always like to set my goals high,” said Albert.

Albert went from Buchanan to Boone, North Carolina to attend Appalachian State University. He was initially apprehensive, but eventually got into the swing of things--literally. Albert competed in shot put, discus, weight throw and hammer events for the Mountaineers.

“Each component breaks down and is so complicated that one small mishap can throw your whole day off,” Albert said.

The biggest lesson he carried from his high school days, was patience.

“My coach Greg Dyer really implemented that into my training, it was that things take time and you’re going to have to work on things. It’s not given to anybody, especially with an individual sport, you’re going to have to work hard to get what you want,” said Albert.

With that mindset, he improved every time he stepped in the ring. Albert’s peak was his junior season, when he set personal records in shot put and weight throw at the Sun Belt Championships.

“I just had so much time traveling and spending time with friends that it transferred into competing because I’m happy because I’m with the people that I love and that transferred to the ring because I’m happy and never in a dull state,” Albert explained.

Though his senior season was cut short this spring, Albert says he’s comfortable ending this chapter of his life and is ready for the next. He recently graduated as a criminal justice major, now aiming to enter law enforcement. He offers these words of encouragement.

“Keep working hard, be accountable for what you do, find discipline in what you do. You don’t have to necessarily aim for those high power 5 schools as long as you’re still competing with them. So train like an underdog,” said Albert.

About the Author:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.