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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Running past obstacles not new to Alston


    Arizona track and field sprinter Kyle Alston will compete in four events on Saturday at the Jim Click Shootout, an event that begins today at Drachman Stadium.



    Most would find participating in four events in one day a challenging feat, but Alston has faced far greater challenges in his life. One in particular came when he was just a toddler and was diagnosed with leukemia.



    As his father, Norman Alston, described it, it started when Alston was two years old and contracted an ear infection. At the time, his parents didn’t think anything of it. They figured millions of kids develop ear infections and with some medicine everything would be fine within weeks.



    But as the days proceeded, the medicine didn’t seem to be healing the infection and Kyle’s condition became worse. Then, his parents began to notice that whenever they touched him it caused him a great deal of pain. At that point, they took him to see a doctor, and it was on that visit that they received the news that their son had cancer.



    “”He had to have five bags of blood immediately and if we hadn’t taken him at that time he would have died,”” Norman Alston said. “”All his mom and I could think of is that he was going to die.””



    As his parents began to research the disease, their faith that their son could make it through and live a healthy life grew stronger. The family was lucky, because the special doctor they needed was located in their home town of Fresno, Calif. Kyle then spent three years in the hospital.



    “”Kyle thought the hospital was a home,”” Norman said. “”He was always a happy baby. He was never negative, he was always a positive little guy.



    “”It’s almost like he wanted to play all the time,”” he added,”” and then he would get tired and he was like ‘I’m going to rest so I can play again.'””



    Kyle only remembers certain parts of the process because he was so young.



    “”I remember being in the hospital for like a year and having to get my blood drawn every day,”” Kyle said. “”If I was older I probably would have went crazy in that hospital.””



    When Kyle turned five, he was released from the hospital and able to go home for good. In the years that followed, he continued to take mediciations and had to be checked out regularly to make sure everything was fine.



    “”Every year they would check up on me and check my blood, then one year they checked up on me and everything was good,”” said Alston.



    Since he received his clean bill of health, Alston has lived a healthy life and there have been no signs of cancer.



    “”The doctors were very helpful through the entire process. They told us that he’s going to be all right and it gave us hope,”” Norman said. “”Sure enough, we did the right stuff and here he is today.””



    After Kyle was deemed healthy, he was able to lead a normal life and put his energy to use. That’s when he began to develop a love for track.



    “”I started track when I was in the sixth grade and I remember my first track meet, I just ran I didn’t know what I was doing and I was running the second and third fastest times out of nowhere,”” Kyle said.



    Though he was shocked by how well he performed in his first meet, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that success in track has literally run through his family. His father starred in track at Cal-State Hayward and was on the Stars and Stripes club track team with Fred Harvey, the UA’s current head track and field coach. Norman also knew coach Harvey’s wife, Janet, from high school and college.



    Many would assume that the younger Alston was recruited to Arizona by Harvey because of the relationship with his father, but the elder Alston insists that his past relationship had nothing to do with his son being recruited by Arizona.



    “”It’s funny because I remember Janet telling the story that they were looking at Kyle (during the recruiting process) and she said, ‘I wonder if that’s Norm’s son,'”” Norman said. “”So when he called me on the phone I was like, ‘Wow! A voice from the past.'””



    Kyle continued to blossom in his senior year of high school, as he was named Athlete of the Year by the Fresno Bee in 2007. After coach Harvey made a trip to visit the Alstons’ home, Kyle then seriously began to consider Arizona.



    “”When Coach Harvey called my dad, I only knew about Arizona State. I wasn’t even familiar with the Pac-10,”” Kyle said. “”Coach Harvey came to my house in Fresno and he was telling me about his program and I decided to take a recruiting trip. I loved the campus right when I got here.””



    Last year was Alston’s first at Arizona and he won the West Regional Championship in the 4×100-meter relay and ran a season’s best time of 10.69 in the 100m dash in the UA-ASU-NAU Double Dual Meet.



    This weekend he will be competing in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and possibly even the long jump as he hopes to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore. on May 29.



    “”The toughest part for me is to get to the championship meets. I call them the big dance,”” Kyle said. “”I hope I qualify for regionals this weekend so I can work toward the championship meets.””


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