Photo Courtesy of Bob Thomas, FSU track sports information director.
Denise Spann -- Florida MileSplit Correspondent
The Re-Up: Andre Ewers re-up /ˈrēˌəp/ verb - a second chance, 2.0, new and improved, to do again
Not everyone's path to Division I athletics is the same. Some are lucky enough to go immediately after high school, while others find other ways to achieve that DI dream. However, no matter the avenue, adversity is bound to be there along the way.
Florida State University Seminole, Andre Ewers has had his fair share of adversity in life and on the track. As a young father to his four-year old son, Aiden, Ewers is doing everything to set the best example possible.
"Aiden is a big inspiration to me," he said. "As much as I want him to look back on my athletic career ever since he was born, I've wanted him to take school seriously. I'm going to be the first in my family to graduate from college. I really want to pave the way there for him and change generational curses. Everything that I'm building is for him. I want to build a platform for him in both academics and athletics."
The Piper High School alumna started off his collegiate career at South Plains College in 2014. Ewers remembers the transition as very difficult; he was training with some of the fastest collegiate sprinters at the time.
"I wasn't used to training with the elite guys on my team," Ewers said. "When I first went to the school I was in the back in practice. It really took me some time to get accustomed to my environment and the training."
After winning the NJCAA Outdoor Championship team title with South Plains, Ewers took the following year off to help take care of his son and find a new home for his athletic career.
In 2016, he began competing for Butler Community College, where he solidified his reputation as a sprinting powerhouse. During his time in NJCAA athletics, Ewers earned 11 All-American honors between indoor and outdoor seasons. In 2017 he became the NJCAA 100-meter champion and runner-up in the 200-meter and 4x100m .
With a resume as decorated as his, Division I programs were very interested in brining Ewers onto their teams. Ewers believed FSU was the best fit for him.
"I chose FSU because it was it close to my son and Coach Ricky Argro has seen so much potential in me from the beginning," he said. "He believes that I'm going to be a top contender, knowing there's things he can fix from a technical and speed aspect. He believes I'm nowhere near what I'm capable of yet."
Becoming a Seminole proved to be the right decision for him. In his debut indoor season, Ewers tied Dentarius Locke's 60-meter school record of 6.52 at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational. Ewers knew he was capable of great things that day, but he wasn't expecting that time.
"My reaction was priceless. I remember going into the final after I ran 6.63 and I said to myself, 'okay, you can run like 6.60, but don't chase it, don't chase it.' When I saw the 6.52, it was priceless. I still have no words," he said.
After that performance Ewers had the fastest 60-meter going into the 2018 indoor nationals. Headed into the 60-meter finals as a favorite to win the title, Ewers false started and got disqualified from the race. It was in that moment, that a spark was lit for Ewers.
"It sparked something inside of me, in terms of coming back outdoor and doing everything that I was planning to do indoor. Twice as hard," Ewers said. "The way I felt in that moment, I told myself I won't let this false start define who I am. I'm going to come out make some moves."
That's exactly what he did. In the 2018 outdoor season Ewers was a driving force for the FSU men winning the ACC outdoor title, with wins in the 100-meter and 200-meter. Shortly after at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary, Ewers shocked himself and the field, running a US No. 1 and World No.2 time of 9.98.
"My reaction to the 9.98 wasn't necessarily to the 9.9, it was to my execution," he said. "I got left out the blocks, so in my mind I told myself I ran 10.05 and I see 9.9… I couldn't believe that even with bad execution I ran that fast."
All eyes were on Ewers at the national championships and he didn't disappoint. He anchored FSU's 4x100m relay to a fifth-place finish and a top-10 all-time FSU performance (39.00). Ewers then finished third-place in the 100-meter (10.19) and ran a tight race for runner-up in the 200-meter (20.29). Ewers planned on building off his goals to continue to move forward from his impressive Seminole debut.
"I stay hungry by knowing there's a lot of things out there to achieve," he said. "Every time I achieve something, I tell myself, 'I believe I'm not at the surface of what I'm capable of'; because I know when there's God in me and my life, there's no limits. So, when I do something, I congratulate myself, collect the experience and I just keep going."
All things were going as planned until the 200m at the Texas Tech Classic this indoor season. During the race, running down the bank Ewers felt what he thought was a cramp in his hamstring. He continued to race through it and felt something again while finishing. Ewers still ran 20.99 to finish fourth, but the road afterward would be tougher than any race.
Ewers returned back to Tallahassee with a level II hamstring strain that withheld him from competing until the 2019 ACC Indoor Championships. The night before Ewers was set to compete, he had found out his grandfather passed away.
"The hardest part about coming back with my injury was how things truly went from bad to worse," Ewers said. "The fact that he died, I didn't sleep for a month, it made me more tired and put more stress on me. Over time I stayed close to God, started watching sermons, trying to keep my mind uplifted and mentality high. I told myself I was going to come back to practice and dedicate this year to him."
Now, Ewers is healthy, racing and just made history being the first man to double and win the 100m and 200m at ACC conference. He hasn't adjusted the goals he's set for himself. He still wants to make it back to the outdoor championships and improve on his placements from last year.
In addition, Ewers said it's been a dream of his to get the opportunity to compete at a world championships for Jamaica. Reflecting on where he's been, and where he's going. Ewer's ultimate goal is to be a role model for his son and for young athletes in Broward County.
"In the bible it basically says, 'all things work together for your good'," Ewers said. "If you're going through a hard time, those things are a foundation that's building toward the great things that are to come. There's so much talent in Broward, but people don't believe in them. I want to be that person to spark hope inside the people of Broward County. It doesn't matter where you are, just keep working and there will be big things ahead."