Q & A with Joey Dalessandro: Dalton graduate had hoped to beat school record, place at state

PHOTO BY JODI AUGSPURGER

Joey Dalessandro at a past Smithville Meet. The recent Dalton graduate had hoped to beat his brother’s high jump record this track and field season.

By ARIEL STAHLER
DGKN sports writer

The 2020 high school spring sports season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dalton Gazette & Kidron News is featuring Dalton High School spring athletes who recently graduated and did not get to represent the Dawgs in their final season. This week’s senior is track and field athlete Joey Dalessandro. He competed in high jump, 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m relays.

What was your reaction when you found out spring sports were canceled?

I was kind of disappointed at first. I remember I was at my house. It was right after they canceled school for the first time and they were talking about possibly not having a track season. I just got disappointed because I had a lot of new goals this year. I wanted to beat my brother’s (high jump) record, which is the school record, at 6’9”. Last year, I was three inches away from it. I was just disappointed overall.

What were some of your goals for this season?
The last three years, I made it to regionals and was one place away from making it down to state, so this year I really wanted to go to state and place because it was my last chance to get on the wall with the rest of my family.

What were you looking forward to most for your senior season?
I was looking forward to the track season as a whole. Our team this year was going to be a lot of fun to be around. I thought we could go really far and possibly win WCAL.

What do you miss most about track and field?
I miss hanging out with all the guys, just laying around in the tent waiting for our events and stuff. It’s just a fun time, the team bonding aspect of it. There’s nothing really like it. In every other sport, you are in a grind mode the entire time where track you are kind of laid back until it’s your time to do your event. You have time to have fun with your friends and you also get to compete, which is a lot of fun.

How have you kept in contact with your teammates?
We have had a few group chats. When we thought the season was still going to happen, we did a whole bunch of workouts over Zoom. I have kept in contact with them a little bit.

How have you been keeping active during your time at home?
I have been doing a lot of running and lifting with one of my other buddies, Hunter Shisler, and I have also been playing a lot of basketball down at Village Greens since it opened back up.

How did you adjust to distance learning?
It was kind of hard at first, but once I got in my head that it was eventually going to get better and I could see my friends again, I accepted it. I knew it was better if I stayed away from everyone so that I could be with everyone sooner.

Are there any new hobbies or activities you have been keeping busy with?
I learned how to play the guitar a little bit. I learned a few more songs. I wasn’t really big into it before quarantine, but I didn’t really have too much to do, so I started playing the guitar a little bit more.

Have you learned anything new about yourself during this time?
I learned a whole bunch of different mindsets that I could have been missing out when I wasn’t around people and ways I could keep my-self busy and keep myself accountable when I didn’t have everyone else telling me “this is what you need to do” and holding it to a standard. It was hard to get up in the mornings because I did-n’t have to. I did get into a bad schedule of waking up at 2 p.m. and going to bed at 5 a.m. I just had to get in the right mindset to stay on schedule and do something active every day.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?
In July, I’m leaving to join the National Guard. I’m heading to boot camp. After 16 weeks, I’ll be back home and I will start business school. I’m not sure which college yet, but I am thinking Miami University in Ohio.

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