By Nikki Thompson
GREENVILLE – Roury McCloyen, a St. Joseph Catholic School Greenville senior, is one of the nation’s best shot put and discus throwers.
McCloyen established his faith early in life as he was influenced by his father, who was a pastor. He is beyond grateful for the impact the Catholic faith has had on his life. From helping his community through acts of service to assisting at weekly Mass, McCloyen is the epitome of what it means to be not only a Christian athlete but a record-breaking Christian athlete.
In April 2022, McCloyen’s discus throw broke the old MAIS record. McCloyen has been throwing both the shot put and the discus since he was nine years old.
When we asked why he started this particular sport, he responded, “When I was 9 years old, my coach put a shot put in my hand, and it just felt like it was meant for me.” Over the past decade, he has learned how to improve at his sport.
This past summer, McCloyen won the men’s shot put for his first-ever Junior Olympic title at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, California.
“It was the best competition I ever had and going against a college commit made it even more fun,” wrote McCloyen.
Coming from a small town in the south traveling to California and competing in the Junior Olympics is a lot to talk about and be proud of for McCloyen and his family. This experience is the type of accomplishment that most young athletes dream of having. For McCloyen, it became a reality.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, in a gym full of his family and friends, McCloyen accepted a full scholarship to Mississippi State University. In true his style, he threw everyone off a little bit at first by picking up a University of Alabama hat but quickly swapped that one out for a different shade of red and a cowbell in hand. The gymnasium erupted in cheer as his classmates, family and community were delighted that McCloyen was staying close to home.
“I chose Mississippi State because when I visited there it just felt like family. I know I can be around people that will help me grow. My goal is to make it to the Olympics,” McCloyen stated. Of course, he thanked his parents, Royal and Maury McCloyen, for helping him every step of the way.
In the last few months, McCloyen has added another championship ring to his collection for football. In November, the Fighting Irish won the MAIS 4A State Championship in football, and McCloyen was an integral part of the team. He earned his third championship ring in football with this victory, and he also has earned additional championship rings for basketball and track.
McCloyen has a bright future ahead of him, both academically and athletically. “The staff at St. Joe, cannot wait to see him succeed at MSU. We know he will have tons of Irish support following him,” said principal, Craig Mandolini.
When McCloyen was asked what his fondest memories at St. Joseph Catholic School will be, he replied, “When I leave here, I will remember all of my coaches, my teammates, and especially my teachers that helped me get through my high school years. Their love and support of me throughout school did not go unnoticed.”
Mandolini says there is something to say about having a young man like McCloyen being a product of Catholic education. With that, Mandolini likes to think about Hebrews 11:1 that says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
“Faith is not something we talk about or write about in concept. Our faith is in every action we take and every in word we speak. Roury has grown up not only in an environment at home where he can actively practice his faith but also at school where it is nourished and grows exponentially. Without our faith, we are nothing, and because of Roury’s faith, he’s an awe-inspiring Christian athlete,” said Mandolini.
“Here at St. Joe, we can’t wait to see where this road leads Roury in the future, but until then, we will enjoy watching him in his final months as an Irish!”