NEWBERRY — Tyler Duncan, Newberry High School track runner, has signed a letter of intent to run track and cross country at South Carolina State University.
The 18-year-old Duncan has earned three state titles back to back, and has four state titles all together. He said when it came to picking a college, he wanted to get as far away from South Carolina as he could, but that changed once he found out S.C. State was recruiting him.
“I didn’t even know South Carolina State was recruiting me until the end of the season, once I found out they were recruiting me, I had family that went there, my brother ran track there, I was like, I could go there. They are willing to give me good money and their coaching is amazing, so I wasn’t about to let the opportunity slip by,” Duncan said.
Duncan has been running track since the seventh grade, he said he got into the sport due to a recommendation from a truancy officer.
“I was a troubled kid, I was truant a lot, I didn’t come to school, I didn’t like school. So when my truancy officer came up to me, she said you should get into a sport, I said okay, that’s cool, I’ll just run track, and that’s what she offered,” he said. “Ever since I started running, I never stopped.”
To get to the level of a state champion, Duncan said it took a lot of sacrificing and a lot of dedication.
“You have to go out there and do things other people aren’t willing to do, you have to wake up in the morning, you have to sweat, you have to put in those long hours of just work and you really have to push yourself. Everybody is out there training and you have to have something that separates you from the other athletes,” Duncan said. “I try and get in (a run) every single day, except Sunday, it is like my therapy, it is my escape. When I’m running, it is like a whole different world, I try not to focus on any problems, it is a way for me to cope with any situation I have, just to be me.”
The best way Duncan stays healthy, especially during the summer months, is by drinking a lot of water. He said it all comes with the sport, so he stays healthy and hydrated.
“All those elements together, you’ll be good,” he said.
When Duncan goes to South Carolina State he’ll be running both track and cross country, which will be a first for him. He plans on majoring in education.
“I feel like that was my weakest point, and I feel like I can help kids who are like me, troubled and might need some assistance and guidance. I like helping people and that’s one way I can help people,” Duncan said.
Duncan’s father, Gordon, said it was great to see all of his son’s hard work finally pay off. His mother, Linda Riddle, said she is going to miss him, but she is proud of him.
Derrick Hamilton, track coach, said he was proud of Duncan.
“I love him like a son, just glad to see his dreams coming true, getting a scholarship to go run track,” Hamilton said.
Now that Duncan is heading to the next level, he said he is going to miss the people of Newberry High School, especially the coaches.
“Specifically Coach Hamilton, he’s made a huge impact on my life. He started coaching me in the eighth grade, and ever since then I’ve done nothing but excel, and he taught me so much about the sport, so much about character. He matured me and we grew together, our bond got so strong, I trust him and he might be one of the biggest people for this,” Duncan said.