Gunnar Allison used his knowledge of math and science to throw himself into the Ivy League.
The Rogersville senior signed a letter of intent Tuesday to attend Harvard University and compete in track and field. Allison intends to study civil engineering.
“I’m a pretty math and science driven individual, I see a lot better through numbers,” Allison said. “Ever since I was a kid I loved to see the structure of my environment and buildings.”
Leaving Rogersville to study at a prestigious university was always a dream for Allison. He took official visits to Harvard, Yale and Stanford.
“Those opportunities presented themselves and it just felt like the dream was there, and I wanted to pursue it,” Allison said. “I wanted to really open up and see what the world has to offer.”
The Harvard Crimson ultimately won the services of the 2013 state discus champion, who said he likes the atmosphere at the oldest college campus in the United States.
“The Boston area and Cambridge — it was just so neat up there,” Allison said. “The culture and the diversity up there you just can’t find anywhere else.”
Allison credits his family, friends and teachers for helping him attain the dream of signing with an Ivy League program. He subscribes to the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
“It’s a really big deal for me and my family. It really is a dream come true. I’ve been blessed with a lot of great things,” Allison said. “I’m unbelievably blessed with all the people that are in my life, and I feel like I’m an extension of the village that I grew up in.”
Allison placed second in discus at Missouri’s 2014 state track and field championship meet. A foul in the final round of the shot put competition kept him off the podium. Allison looks forward to his final season with the Rogersville Wildcats in the spring.
“I learned a lot from last year. Last year wasn’t a great year in my personal opinion, but I’m looking forward to this year,” Allison said.
Allison won gold in discus and was second in shot at the state meet as a sophomore, and he earned all-state status as a discus thrower with a fifth-place finish as a freshman in 2012.
Allison said there is more to the sports of shot put and discus than raw throwing power. Technique is crucial, which plays to Allison’s knowledge of science and math.
“It’s a numbers game, keeping everything balanced really well,” Allison said of the throwing sports. “You can never be too perfect at it, you can always be stronger and faster.”