SMSU ATHLETICS: Thank you SMSU: Alex Weis grateful for the journey with Mustangs’ track and field team

Independent file photo SMSU’s Alex Weis competes in the shot put event during an April meet. Weis recently wrapped up a week-long competition for Team USA in the Summer Deaflympics.

MARSHALL – Alex Weis has had a long last couple of weeks. After wrapping up his collegiate career for the Southwest Minnesota State University track and field team, Weis recently returned from a week-long trip to Samsun, Turkey, where he competed for Team USA at the Summer Deaflympics. Weis placed fifth in the shot put with a throw of 15.75m, sixth in the hammer throw with a toss of 50.88m and was the top American thrower in both events. He wrapped up competition by placing fifth in the discus with a throw of 47.92m.

Weis said it was an honor to compete side-by-side against some of the world’s best and it will be an experience he will never forget.

“It was definitely an honor to compete against those athletes internationally,” Weis said. “It was really cool to wear the Team USA gear and have Turkish people see you and it’s almost like you’re a celebrity there; they come up to you and ask for photos and restaurants try to get you to come in there. Back here you don’t get that kind of experience, but it was the little things like that that was really cool.”

Weis said despite not coming home with a medal, it was nice to be able to finish out his career as one of the top throwers in the world.

“It was really cool to be one of the top throwers and among the best athletes in the world. It was a little frustrating that I didn’t get the results I had hoped for, but the experience and having fun was the most important part,” Weis said. “I definitely learned a lot and it was a different style of competition. It was tough to stay mentally and physically focused and I had to adjust my routine a little bit, but hopefully I can learn from it.”

Weis has spent the last four years on the track and field for the Mustangs, where he set several personal bests and won a couple of NSIC championships in his junior and senior seasons. He said coming to SMSU was a blessing and it was great to be a part of a new program like SMSU’s track and field team when he first came to Marshall.

“First, it’s a small school with small class sizes; I came here academically most importantly, because I wanted to be a physical education teacher and this school was going to help me stay well-rounded for that,” Weis said. “I originally wanted to come here for football, but then I heard about the track and field program that was about to start up, so I took up on that. It was definitely a blessing to be a part of a new program and it was challenging sometimes but I learned a lot and it developed me into a better leader and hopefully a good teammate also.”

Weis said he improved a lot on his throwing technique over the last four years, and made sure to stay positive throughout the hardships.

“In high school I was a glider and Coach [Justin] Romero had me switch to a spin and rotational thrower, so that took me a while to get the technique down. The only thing that was not new to me was the distance. I ended up doing really well with the distance my freshman year at conference,” Weis said. “They say the average age to master the technique is 30 years old so it’s definitely a long road to master the technique but I’ve definitely worked hard on keeping my mind positive and that’s what allowed me to improve each year.”

Weis added he had multiple influences on the track throughout his time at SMSU.

“I would definitely say the coaches; Coach Romero, he’s been there through the thick and thin the last four years. [Former] coach Nate Wolf is the one who got the program started, so if it wasn’t for him none of us athletes would be here so he did a phenomenal job of getting this program up and running,” Weis said. “And Dan [Allen] also did well in getting the program going so it’s been really cool. The graduate assistants have been really nice to know and they’ve all played a role in developing me as an athlete.”

Weis said he also had influences off the track, from the professors to the community members to just people in the hallway.

“Even the professors and other students here on campus and everyone in the community have supported me and wished me luck,” Weis said. “They’ve kept me positive and encouraged me to keep working hard. They’ve all contributed to my success as an athlete.”

He said there have been a lot of cool moments, but one of his favorites came recently this past season.

“Most recently, my favorite moment was from conference. I had been struggling with the shot put all season and was in fourth place and down to my last throw,” Weis said. “The guy who had been in fifth place had a big throw and took over first place and I was next and had my season best throw and took first place. It was a really cool moment because it’s not very often where you win a meet on your last throw.”

Weis continued, “I’ve also received some accomplishments here, such as the Most Outstanding Teammate award. That was truly an honor and there are a lot of very deserving students here that deserve that award. The memories I’ll share the most are getting to know everyone here, including the janitors. Everybody’s been friendly in the hallway and it’s always cool to have someone say hi to you to start off your day well. The clubs and events I’ve been a part of is something I will miss. It’s hard to pick one memory, but everyone that has been a part of my memories is something that I’m very thankful for.”

With his track career in the rearview mirror, Weis now plans on finishing up his final semester with some student teaching before hopefully landing a full-time position next year.

“I still have a semester left and I have to student teach,” Weis said. “I’ll be student teaching in Grand Meadow, Minnesota and teaching K-12 phy ed and developmental phy ed so I’ll be doing that for a semester. In the spring, I’ll probably be a sub or a pair-up and hopefully next year in the fall I’ll be a phy ed teacher somewhere.”

Weis said he is very grateful for all the support from the people he’s gotten to know over the last four years in Marshall, and hopes to stay in touch with them.

“I would like to say thank you very much to everyone that has been a part of my experience here. The coaches, the administration, the professors and my teammates; it’s been a blessing to get to know you all and I hope we stay in touch throughout the years,” Weis said. “I also want to thank the community for their support and investing in SMSU athletics. We wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for them and there’s lots of people in the community I’ve gotten to know that I would like to thank as well. Thank you for the experience here and creating me into the person I am today.”