A little over two and a half years ago before leaving his mother and younger brother in Cuba, nineteen year old Yoan Prado’s life looked quite a bit different than it does now. For the last five years in Cuba, Yoan was an avid field hockey athlete but upon moving to be with his father and two other brothers in Hendry County he found that the scarcity of field hockey in the area would have him funneling his athletic prowess into other sports including Soccer, Track, and Cross Country.
Prado has been giving most of his attention to Cross Country lately, with a dedication that LaBelle High School’s Coach Frost says has been rivaled by no other.
Waking at 4:30am every morning to leave for school from his home just outside of Clewiston, Yoan arrives at LaBelle High School by 5:30am to run in the still dark and early morning hours before showering and going about his school day as an academically upstanding student; after school he starts running again.
When I asked him what he liked so much about running he smiled and said in his ever improving English “it’s hard work but it feels good”
Yoan’s next goal is to beat the record of 15.57 for 3.1 miles. His current standing is 16.11 which he ran at the Northport Event on Sepember 24th earlier this year.
Coach Frost says that Prado is one of his most hardworking students who has inspired both his boys and girls cross country teams to raise the bar in their own performances. He is currently working hard for scholarships and has been approached by 3 schools already wanting him to run for their institutions.
When asked what he saw himself doing in 10 years he said he would love to be coaching students himself, leaving a legacy for younger runners after him but right now his main focus is on breaking that record and making it to state before his age surpasses the limit. Prado turns 20 in February of 2017 which is the cut off age for cross country events.
For a young man with so much happening for him right now, I asked if he had time for a girlfriend; He laughed and said “No! I am only focusing on running and school.”
There are big things in Yoan’s future and we can’t wait to cheer him on and watch what tomorrow holds for this incredible young member of our community.
Val can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org