Darrell Hill, Olympian
Professional Track and Field Athlete, Darrell Hill
Major: Rehabilitation and Human Services
Hometown: Darby, Pa.
High School: Penn Wood High School
Sports: Wrestling, Football, Basketball, Track
Event: Shot Put
There is no doubt that Darrell Hill, 23 isn’t an all star athlete. From the NCAA titles to the Big Ten championships he proves he can hold his own in track and field. Sovereign got a chance to explore more of Darrell’s experiences and here’s what he shared.
“Most people were too cool to play sports, other than basketball and football, in the urban area. Even I was too cool to be in track. It just happened.” Darrell Hill played basketball and wrestling before he got into track. It wasn’t until Penn Wood High School’s track coach saw something in him. He approached him saying “You’re strong. Can you help us with this track meet? All you have to do is throw a ball, relax and then look at girls all day.” Hill smirked and said “So of course I said ‘yes!’”
Knowing a few friends on the team helped his decision. It wasn’t until Hill became competitive that he realized he was good. Hill quickly explained that not everyone has a moment and how he was lucky to have one. Hill always played sports in high school, but said that he never took them seriously. Football season ended, and shortly after had had his first track meet. Ending with a person best of 5 ft., he became number one in the state and three in the United States. He was shocked at his initial accomplishments. Three days later he scored the same points. Hill’s moment was revealed. He ended the the season as state runner up twice and All American. This all lead to scholarships.
Penn State was Hill’s first choice college, but things didn’t pan out the way he wanted them to. He ended up going to his second choice college, The University of Houston. While attending freshman and sophomore year at Houston for track, Hill’s heart was still in Happy Valley. The opportunity visited Hill again and he made difficult transition.
Hill mentioned that there were a few notable differences in the two programs for track. Penn State was national based and and Houston was conference based. He found Penn State's program to be tougher because the expectations surpassed Houston’s program.
Hill became clear about the whispers of him going to the Olympics.
Right now he’s training for the Olympic Trials, which are on July 1st. Based off of his last season of track he was ranked number six in the United States. The Olympics takes three Shot Put competitors, so it’s very close, The Olympics are in August in Rio de Jenero, Brazil. “Everyone that ever does track goal is to make it to the Olympics. It’s one thing to say it and hear it, but to actually be making arrangements to participate in them is a big deal,” said Hill.
During Hill’s time at Penn State he explained how track is evolving. They’re recruiting high caliber athletes, breaking records, and grad opportunities like the Olympics are reachable for more than just Hill. There was one thing Hill wants to change about the program. “I want receive more support from the school for track. Track isn’t a front line sport like football and basketball here at Penn State. We are always notoriously ranked in the top 25 so I feel that knowing about our stats and with better advertisement we could pull in more support for the track team,” said Hill.
It’s clear that Hill enjoyed sports, but when he’s not competing he’s an advent binge watcher. After the Olympics Hill plans to continue traveling, all while still competing and volunteer coaching. He reflected on always wanting to be a coach, but there was one difficult part. “I want to coach here at Penn State, but then my coach would have to be fired. And I don’t think that is going to happen,” said Hill.
Not everyday in track is good Hill explained. What helps him on those days is to remember that he has people that look up to him. Younger kids that attend his alma mater look up to him just as a family would. Hill ended with, “I guess you can say that I am a people motivated person. I aspire to inspire.”