Colin Anderson admits he’s different.
He sometimes was teased as a kid and had a tough time making friends.
But the recent Lodi High graduate never stopped believing in himself.
Sports gave Anderson an avenue to challenge himself physically and mentally, and allow others a chance to get to know him. In time, many of his classmates, teammates and instructors grew to appreciate him for his personality and abundant talent.
“I had to struggle to find my own image. When people first met me, they might have thought I was strange,” Anderson said. “That made it hard to find people to hang out with. I just had to grow into myself to the point where I was able to control myself so I got to know people. Sports really helped with that.”
Having never played competitive sports before he enrolled as a freshman at Lodi, Anderson finished his high school career with multiple honors in wrestling, cross country, track and field, and he earned a varsity letter in football – all while achieving a 4.5 grade point average, graduating second in his class of 469 students and devoting countless hours to the community.
Anderson was selected by The Record’s sports staff as a finalist for the ninth Charles Washington Award, presented annually to a graduating high school senior who exhibits excellence athletically, academically and through community service. Anderson was exceptional in all three facets and already has moved on to the next chapter in his life.
“I just really enjoyed sports in high school,” said Anderson, who has started his freshman year at BYU in Provo, Utah. “It gave you something to do that was worthwhile. When you were done at the end of the day, you felt like you accomplished something.”
Anderson channeled his always-active mind and exuberance in a positive way through sports. And he displayed remarkable resilience. As a freshman, his skill level in wrestling was so low, some of his matches didn’t count toward the team’s point total. Anderson went on to earn three varsity letters in the sport, as well as the most improved wrestler award his sophomore year, the most escapes award three consecutive years, the coaches award his senior year and individual San Joaquin Athletic Association championships his junior and senior seasons.
In cross country, he earned a varsity letter, advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section meet and was the Flames’ rookie of the year.
In track and field, he earned three varsity letters, advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet in the pole vault his junior and senior years, won SJAA titles his senior year in the pole vault and 300-meter hurdles, finished first in the pole vault and 300 hurdles at the 2013 Sacramento Meet of Champions and was a team captain his senior year.
Anderson played football his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
He was recognized as a Lodi scholar-athlete all four years, he’s an AP Scholar with Distinction, a 2013 National Merit Commended Student, and a 2013 Record Pinnacle Award recipient. He competed in the Science Olympiad each year in high school and medaled at the regionals his freshman, sophomore and junior years.
As an Eagle Scout, Anderson was involved in a project to help renovate the Grape Bowl and has helped clean up and beautify his community through Mormon Helping Hands. During all four years of high school, he tutored other students in math and science. He delivered food baskets to families in need through his church youth group, and he graduated from his church youth group’s Latter Day Saints seminary four-year program, and took religion classes at 6:05 a.m. every weekday.
“The two words that describe him best are spiritually grounded,” said Ruth Anderson, Colin’s mother. “His service is constant. He just looks for the need and fills it.”
Anderson said he will complete some of his coursework at BYU before he embarks on a two-year church mission. He wants a career in engineering and has the confidence to do just about anything.
“You get a sense of pride doing sports,” Anderson said. “When you’re in sports, you think I’m doing something very few people could do because it’s so rigorous, so that gives you that confidence.”