Local News

St. Augustine track star runs in honor of father

Posted February 26, 2009 6:57 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— St. Augustine’s College’s Josh Cleveland has found a way to balance school and a promising track and field career.

Cleveland, a business administration major, spends time studying for his classes and training for 400 and 800 meter races.

When he arrived on campus three years ago, Cleveland wasn’t as focused. After a short time, Cleveland’s father was diagnosed with cancer.

“Seeing the actual changes he was going through with his body and the physical pain, it was real tough on my family,” Cleveland said. “Trying to be here at home and at the same time trying to keep up with my studies, it was real tough.”

Cleveland said he used track and field to help him cope. He said his father loved to see him run. Cleveland made the St. Augustine track team as a walk-on.

“Since he’s been here, he’s had a 4.0 grade point average,” track coach George Williams said.

Williams said Josh excels both on and off the track – something he hopes will influence other student athletes.

“You can be a good student as well as a good athlete,” Williams said.

At a track meet two years ago, Cleveland found out his father had lost his battle with cancer. Though his coach wanted to bring him home, Cleveland said he wanted to run his last race for his father. Cleveland won that race.

Everytime he runs, Cleveland dedicates the race to his father.

“Before I run, I always think of him, and I say, ‘Dad, this is for you,’ and I pray to God that I do well, and when I’m done,…I say, ‘that was for you, Pops,’” Cleveland said.

Cleveland is looking to attend graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or New York University.