The story goes that Lincoln High throwing coach Adam Grant – also a teacher at the school – took one look at Kyle Moison and strongly encouraged the youngster to join the Lions’ track & field team on the first day of Moison’s freshman year.
“I thought he was a cool teacher, but he told me that if I didn’t come out for the track team, I’m going to fail you. Of course it was a joke, but as a freshman, you’re like ‘Oh my God!’” said Moison.
It was inside Grant’s classroom where the foundation was laid for a coach-pupil relationship that has yielded major gains for Moison, one of the most decorated throwers in recent R.I. Interscholastic League history who last November announced his intention to continue his track career at the University of Auburn upon graduating from LHS this coming June.
“You look for anybody who has some height and is somewhat athletic,” said Grant. “Sometimes you get kids who surprise you, too.”Moison threw the shot put in middle school. In his eyes, however, he was a football player. If he was going to compete in the hammer, discus, and weight throw, it wasn’t going to come at the expense of his true passion.
“I played football most of my life. It was something that I loved,” said Moison while taking a break from a workout earlier this week, “but track took my heart. Honestly, it was a decision that I was better off making. In the long run, I was better off going with track.
“If I was going to Auburn for football, I would have probably ended up being a tackling dummy,” he said with a laugh.Moison isn’t the first high school athlete to believe he was destined for greatness in one sport before pivoting in a completely different direction. Like many kids, Moison grew up playing team sports before having an epiphany inside the throwing oval.
When he won the shot put and 20-pound weight throw at last month’s R.I. Indoor Track & Field Championships, the victories bumped his all-time career win total to an impressive 43 instances where he’s walked out of the circle as an individual champion. Clearly, the world of throwing has paid off handsomely for someone who’s also achieved All-American status and broken many Lincoln High records along the way.“The work ethic, none of this would be possible without the perseverance that was showed to me by Coach Grant,” said a clearly-appreciative Moison.
In the spring of 2018, Moison was a sophomore when he watched Lincoln teammate Garrett Doyle sign his National Letter of Intent that signaled the continuation of his throwing career at Ohio State. Looking back, the signing ceremony for a teammate opened Moison’s eyes to the possibility of following in Doyle’s shoes.
“To be able to watch Garrett sign an important piece of paper, that was enough for me. Maybe if I put in the same kind of work in that he did, I can achieve the same status,” said Moison. “Like any sport, it’s what you put into it.”
As sophomore year gave way to junior year and eventually his senior year, Moison began to see his recruiting profile come into sharp focus. His first scholarship offer came from URI. The next thing he knew, he was talking with the coach from Baylor University. The heightened attention helped make Moison’s decision to not play football for Lincoln this past season a bit easier to digest, though by no means was it an easy break.
“It was kind of weird; I had played a sport every season,” said Moison. “It was definitely tough to sit in the stands and watch. When you quit one of your childhood sports, you’re definitely going to miss it.”Still, Moison kept coming back to the realization that track, not football, represented his best shot at earning a college scholarship.
“[Saying goodbye to football] was something that had to be done,” said Moison.“I like kids who play other sports in the fall,” said Grant. “Luckily this past fall, we as coaches had the ability to work with the kids for a few hours during the week. [after the RIIL implemented a rule change in March 2019.]”
As Moison will gladly attest, sometimes a switch in sports will do you a world of good.“He realized that throwing was going to be his ticket to a bigger college,” said Grant. “It ended up being a SEC scholarship, which is impressive.”