On this week's Stormin' the Nest with AD Hall, Oglethorpe men's track and field athlete Rod Trujillo, a sophomore from Marietta, talks about his desire to be a criminal defense attorney, being in a band, and winning the county championship in the shot put.
Hall: Who is your favorite professor here at Oglethorpe University?
Trujillo: My Core 101 and 102 classes have been my favorite classes with professor [Geoffrey] Adams. I like to write, and he let me do my own thing when it came to what I was writing about. He let me have free reign and be creative, as long as it turned out well. He doesn’t give you prompts, and I enjoy a little creative freedom. My favorite professor though, is Dr. [Peter] Kower in economics. I am an econ major and psychology minor. He teaches in a very relaxed manner, which is nice. I really like Dr. Kower a lot!
Hall: What does it mean to you to “Give ‘Em the Bird"?
Trujillo: I've noticed that a lot of athletes that come to Oglethorpe are a bit unorthodox, and that holds true for me as well, because as far as throwers go, I'm a little unorthodox in regards to weight and height. So to me this means breaking the expectations that, even though we are not ideally built in some regards, we can still do it and perform as well as or better than those more traditionally built.
Hall: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through sport that is applicable to life?
Trujillo: Honestly, I think the most valuable lessons I’ve picked up are that stuff is going to inevitably go bad at some point or another, and you just have to keep going. I tore my oblique muscle in high school, so I had to back off and stop throwing to heal, but I ran more, so the tear didn’t stop me from practicing. So you know when things don’t go the way you expect it to go, keep going, it will work out, you’ll get a break eventually. Be able to push through, but there will be some tough times.
Hall: What will you be doing after graduation from Oglethorpe University?
Hall: What is your most memorable sports moment?
Trujillo: I played sports since I was in the third grade. I only got good at them in middle school. I started throwing in seventh grade. My sophomore year in school was when I was really good in throws. I went to my county meet and there were three guys that were supposed to break 50 feet, and I was around 48. There were another eight guys between 48 and 50 feet. So I am not even in the top flight of this. So I go out and compete and hit a personal record of 48 feet, 11.5 inches, which was frustratingly close to 49 feet, but I'll take! It was really cold that day, and apparently there was someone there who was really important, and so I didn’t know about him and therefore wasn’t nervous. Apparently, the others were very nervous about him and were freaking out, so in this case, ignorance really helped me out. I was a decathlete before that, but my coach believed that throwers also had to be athletic, so he preached proper warm-up and execution. So on this cold day, when the others were all so concerned about who was in the crowd, I went out and ran, got warm, and that day I performed. I won that day, and should not have won.
Hall: How did you first get involved in sports?
Trujillo: My parents always said they didn’t care what I was doing as long as I tried my best. So I tried music for a little while and there was nothing there, I just didn’t enjoy it at that age. I tried art, but I wasn’t good at it because I was too spastic. So they said, "Alright Rod, you’re going to be an athlete." They started me off with soccer, and I wasn’t terribly good, but it was fun. In the sixth grade I joined the Kell Longhorn junior football team. Suddenly, I got bigger than everyone else, so I played center. Then in the seventh grade, I played fullback and won MVP, and I started finding purpose in sports for the first time. I played lacrosse, I boxed a bit, played basketball...pretty much everything that I thought was cool, I played a little bit. I stopped playing lacrosse and, in order to stay ready for football, I joined the track team and they had me throw because of my size. Football was getting interesting, it started to take over my life versus being a part of it so I gave it up and focused on throwing. Coaches in track and field are a little more understanding of academics and athletics, and I want to go to law school, so track it was…and now I’m here!
Hall: You are very involved on campus, talk to me about what all you’re doing or have done in only two years on campus.
Trujillo: Basically when I got here, I was one of the stronger guys on campus as a freshman, and I thought there was something wrong with that, because there are a lot of athletes on campus. I thought that it was ridiculous that it seemed no one really wanted to get stronger. Strength helps in sports and everyone needs a little "oomph" behind them. So this guy named Shehroze [Choudhry], everyone called him Fiji, and he was an Olympic lifter who performed the clean and jerk, and I was just lifting for functional strength, not really concerned about lifting for the sake of lifting. There was also this third guy named Mike Bower, who was a swimmer, and he was a beast on the upper-body lifts and wanted to work his lower body. The three of us just started lifting together and then we discussed starting a club. So Fiji did the paperwork, and I recruited 20 to 25 people to join our club, and so I got named president of the club. I tried to join the mock trial club here, but we didn’t have enough support behind it, and so I was disappointed that we didn’t have the numbers to field a team. It may come back, and I’ll happily be involved. I am secretary of the economics club. I am a resident assistant on the third floor of Alumni Hall. I am also the fitness coordinator of the martial club, and I work the front desk in the TLCC during the day as part of my job responsibilities for federal work study that I have been awarded.
Hall: What is your favorite place on campus to socialize or hangout?
Trujillo: Hmmm...so there are three rules of throwing. First rule: Never run, avoid it as much as you can (we run, but not too much). Second rule: Eat everything, if you get the chance. Just eat it, consume everything. And the third rule: Only break the first if the second is at stake. So the only time you should run is if it is to go eat. So my favorite place to hang out is the cafe! It’s my favorite place to hang out socially, and it is really near and dear to my heart. I really like the weight room, as well. I spend as much time in there as I can.
Be sure to come back each Monday for a new edition of Stormin' the Nest with AD Hall. For a list of all entries in the series, click here.