By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
The classes Egg Harbor Township senior Brandon Truong is taking in his final year of high school are the kind that would make most students cringe and develop a stomach ache.
“I have AP Calculus BC, which is the second year of calculus, AP Physics C and AP Physics B2, and AP Macro-Economics. I just have to pay attention in class, work hard and have a strict time schedule,” Truong said. “Time management is key. With school and sports, and all those hard classes, it keeps you moving.”
Truong had a solid indoor track season throwing the shot put, and is eager for the spring season because he can get back to throwing the javelin and discus. This edition’s Old Cape Recycling Scholar Athlete should be a contender for a sectional title in all three events. And he’s relishing the opportunity, especially after missing his entire spring outdoor season as a junior last year due to injury.
“It was tough,” Truong said of sitting out the season, “but it was fun watching all my teammates have success. I helped coach them up a lot.”
Like a lot of track and field athletes, Truong got a late start in the sport. He grew up playing sports such as soccer and baseball until the Dessoye twins, Robert and Alex, convinced him to give track and field a shot.
“I played soccer and baseball in recreation leagues. Alex and Robert Dessoye were in my class and they said I should become a high jumper because they knew I could jump pretty high. But the high jump wasn’t really of interest for me, there was too much running (to get prepared for it). I saw the bigger guys throwing the shot put and I said, ‘you know what? I think I’m stronger than them even though I’m smaller.’ So, I threw it the furthest and I stayed with that. When I was a freshman, seeing all the success the seniors were having, I wanted to be like that, too,” Truong said. “Eighth grade was when I first started doing track, throwing the discus and shot put. I threw the discus about 130 feet, which broke the record for my middle school. After that, I thought I was going to be this big-time discus thrower. But coming into high school and seeing what these guys where throwing, that got my hopes down. I knew I needed to work even harder.
“One day, after my freshman year, I got tired of just doing two events so I walked over to the javelin pit. By sophomore year I had progressed from 130 feet to 160.”
Truong said he wants to finish his athletic career on a high note.
“This spring, I feel like I have to step it up to keep up EHT’s tradition of being a powerhouse,” he said. “I expect 50-feet-plus in the shot put, about 170 or 180 in the javelin and maybe 150 in the discus. I have a feeling I might be able to pull something out in sectionals and make it to the Meet of Champions.”
He also wants to finish strong in the classroom, even though he already knows he’ll be attending Stevens Institute of Technology this fall to study mechanical engineering.
“This school is really competitive because it’s such a big school. We have more than 500 kids in each class. So, as soon as the GPAs come out, everybody goes to the guidance office to see who is in the top 10. In the top 10 percent of the class, almost all of us are student-athletes here. Sports keeps us on schedule,” said Truong, who carries a 3.9 GPA and is in the top 50 in his class. “Because I’ve already been accepted (to college), that takes a little bit of pressure off, but I still want to finish strong and leave a good legacy of my name here at this school.”
Truong said being an athlete has been a huge advantage for him throughout his high school career.
“Sports helps a lot because it keeps you on a strict schedule. Staying after school (for sports) until about 7 p.m., when you get home, no matter what you have to do your homework or else there won’t be time for it. So, it forces you to do the work, it forces you to be efficient and work smartly. It gets me paying attention in class more, too, so I don’t have to do as much at home,” he said. “It’s worth the sacrifice. Track keeps me busy on the weekends, and my teammates, it keeps us out of trouble and together as a family. During the weekends, it’s a lifestyle. I’m lifting, doing drills, getting those reps in.”
So, what does such a dedicated student and athlete do to get away from it all and relieve some stress?
“I love to surf. Right after practice I’ll go surfing,” Truong said. “It’s great because it keeps you flexible and explosive. To catch waves, that has a lot of correlation with track. And when you step into that cold, 40-degree water and it splashes you in the face, all that matters is just you catching that wave. It’s great.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays
By DAVE O’SULLIVAN