Anything that Lovell Peterson does on the football field doesn’t surprise his teammates and coaches at Wayne High School. But what he did earlier this year sure did.
“At first, I felt like I didn’t want to disappoint my family,” said the highly recruited 6-foot-4, 290-pound four-year starter.
“But it was my decision. I feel like I’m happy with my decision. I absolutely love track.”
Peterson decommitted to the University of Kentucky and instead signed with Grand Valley State, an NCAA Division II program at Saginaw, Mich., to throw the discus and shot put. It was a decision that rocked UK, coaches and Wayne teammates. Few saw this coming.
“Most of them don’t understand why I would choose track over football,” he said.
Peterson has potential in track. He owns a personal best 183 feet in the discus and leads the area and is among the state’s leaders with a toss of 177 this spring. Twice he’s been to the state track and field meet in his favorite event and hopes to finally place as a senior.
But those numbers don’t come close to what he was projected to do in football. He played every offensive line position as a Wayne starter from his freshman through junior years, then switched to defensive tackle and even nose guard as a senior.
But injuries took a toll. He said he didn’t miss a game, but he sat out multiple preseason practices as a freshman and junior with concussion symptoms. He played half of last season with a deep hip bruise. Minor shoulder injuries have been a constant.
“Especially after this season of playing defense, you’re completely wore out and beat up,” he said. “I didn’t think that I wanted to do that for four or five more years, or whatever I’d have to do in college.”
Peterson’s interest in track blossomed last season. He said UK agreed that he could do both, but he didn’t meet with its track coach during an official visit. UK has additional verbal commits from Wayne linebacker Dorian Hendrix and Springfield wideout Thaddeus Snodgrass, both juniors. Lakota West junior running back Mikel Horton is reportedly favoring UK.
After spending a weekend at Grand Valley, Peterson decided that’s where his future was.
Grand Valley also has football. He’s certain to get hit up by GC coaches about playing both sports. There might come a time when he’ll miss that nagging pain, but not now.
“I don’t see it happening,” he said. “If I do want to play football, at Grand Valley they will allow me … but I don’t see me wanting to play football in college.”
- Dunbar, Trotwood-Madison and Wayne have consistently ruled the area in boys relays over the years. But they all have some catching up to do this season.
Through Wednesday, Mason’s boys owned the state’s best times in the 4x100 (42.10), 4x200 (1:29.23) and 4x400 (3:24.60) relays, according to milesplit.com.
Other area state leaders are Autumn Heath of Lakota East in the 100 (12.03), Lebanon’s Jacquelyn Crow in the 800 (2:19.00) and Mason’s girls 4x800 relay (9:34.10).
- This weekend’s invitationals include Bellbrook and Graham today and Butler on Saturday. Also the Mansfield Mehock Relays and Jesse Owens Classic at OSU will be two-day events.