News - Kuusisto Named to GC’s Order of the Orange and Black

Kuusisto Named to GC’s Order of the Orange and Black

by Rachel Heston-Davis Kuusisto Named to GC’s Order of the Orange and Black

Josh Kuusisto ’14 has been named the 2016 recipient of the Order of the Orange and Black from Greenville College for his outstanding performance in track and field.

This biannual award is given to a student athlete who achieves athletic and academic excellence, models good leadership, and reflects the College’s standards of Christian integrity. Inductees are selected from the athletic teams of the two previous academic years.

Kuusisto set GC school records in track and field for the indoor weight throw and the outdoor hammer throw.

Performance History

Kuusisto participated in track and field during all four of his undergraduate years. As a sophomore in 2012, he almost made it to the NCAA DIII Championships. In 2013 he made it, finishing fourth and setting a GC hammer throw record of 201’ 10” (61.53 M). He finished seventh in the championships during his senior year, helping his team to an eighth-place finish. Also in 2014 he set the 35-pound weight throw record at 60’5 ½” (18.43M).

He was named national champion in both weight throw and hammer throw by the National Christian College Athletic Association.

Recognition at GC

The College’s athletics department uses the Order of the Orange and Black to honor “a student-athlete representing the highest ideals of Greenville College.” Besides athletic achievement, this also includes academic success, Christian character, and leadership qualities. Coaches nominate recent graduates; head coaches and the athletic director vote on a winner.

Kuusisto is humbled to be the latest in a list of athletes that includes famous names in GC sports history. “What an honor to even be mentioned in the same breath as people like Lynn Carlson, Jeff Boelé and Christina Niehaus,” he says.

Recipients of the past decade include:

Beau A. Meredith ’04 2006

Zachery D. Roberts ’07 2008

Christina M. Niehaus ’08 2010

Matthew S. Reeb ’10 2012

Lindsey J. Schuberth ’12 2014

A History With Sports

Kuusisto got involved in sports at a young age and played soccer for 13 years. By college, he’d also participated in football, wrestling, and track. “I have always loved sports and loved how they kept me busy,” he says.

In Kuusisto’s view, playing a sport gives the athlete opportunities—opportunities to excel, opportunities to succeed, opportunities to land scholarships for higher education. “It’s also great counseling,” he jokes, adding that “You deal with a wide variety of [personal] problems both on and off the field.”

Memories of Undergrad days

After graduating high school in Show Low, AZ, Kuusisto enrolled at GC planning to leave in one year. However, the College surprised him; he ended up loving GC’s undergrad experience, and stayed. Favorite memories include staying up late with dorm buddies, feeling part of the campus community, and receiving instruction from professors who care about their students. “[The College] always expected the best out of me,” he says. “They really established what I learned at a young age: whatever you do, do it the best you can.”

What influential faces stick out in his mind?

Attitude Toward Success

Kuusisto holds a modest attitude about his achievements in the world of track and field. He views record-breaking as not just personal achievement, but the accumulated work of everyone who set records before him, plus the teams and coaches who helped them along.

“Records are meant to be broken,” he observes. “I just hope that the next guy to hold mine understands that records are built over time.”

He also dislikes when people chalk athletic accomplishment up to inborn gifts rather than hard work. “I wasn’t blessed with great speed or great athletic ability. I took what God gave me and I worked on it.”

His former coach, Brian Patton, agrees: “[Josh] became the successful student-athlete we know now by being an extremely hard worker who did not take short cuts.” Patton remembers Kuusisto as a good example to other students, the real deal, a young man who “led more by example than he did with his mouth.”

What’s Next?

Kuusisto is pursuing a master of arts in education with an emphasis in curriculum design and coaching. He worked as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Greenville College for a short time, and recently accepted an assistant track and field coach position at the University of Minnesota Morris. Although he’s moving on to the next phase of his life, he remains grateful for everything he gained at his alma mater.

Click here to learn more about  GC’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

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This story was published on December 04, 2015

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