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Track runner Charles Silmon overcomes injuries to become an All-American

Former high school football player switched to track after ACL injuries

Senior Charles Silmon slows down at the end of a race. Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics.

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A self-proclaimed lazy football player who was “blessed with speed” in high school is now a graduating senior leading TCU’s track team to the Big 12 Championships this weekend.

Charles Silmon said he never dreamt he would be in this position. Throughout high school, his goal was to be a football player in college and the NFL. 

His dream changed when he tore both of his ACLs.

“Once all the other colleges figured out I tore my ACL, they started falling off," Silmon said. "[TCU track coach Darryl] Anderson was basically the only one that was concerned about taking care of me and getting my knees back right.”

In his freshman year, Silmon competed and won multiple titles at big meets, finishing the season with a spot on the USA Junior National Squad and a medal from the International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships.

Although he was a second-team All-American his sophomore year, Silmon said he did not do as well as he expected and said he "was supposed to do better." He said he believed his junior year was his best year as a track athlete.

In his junior year, Silmon made the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association’s team. He was also a Mountain West Outdoor Champion in the 100-meter dash and 4x100 meter relay, finishing off his junior year with a personal best time. 

If collegiate accolades were not enough for Silmon to be proud, he also competed at the 2012 Olympic Trials, finishing 10th in the semifinals of the 100-meter dash.

Silmon said he was starstruck by the Olympic Trials because he was in the same heats as medal-winning sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.

“I had to fit in and make it look like I was in with those guys," Silmon said. "If I’m starstruck, I won’t be worried about my running. I’ll just be worried about what they’re doing.”

Silmon said he wants to make the Olympic trials again after graduating. In addition to running professionally, Silmon said he wants to do social work, which is his major at the university. 

For now, Silmon said he looks forward to competing in his final races as a collegiate athlete. Silmon's next challenge will competing in the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash at the Big 12 Championships at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

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