Grandview junior and all-around athlete Derek Joiner has spiked interest from multiple colleges.

Three-sport athlete Bulldog Derek Joiner has colleges calling

By Tyler Schneider

At 285 pounds and 6 ‘3’’, one may not be shocked to hear that Grandview junior Derek Joiner is an All-State offensive lineman fielding football offers from South Dakota, Tulane, Toledo, Bowling Green, Kent State, Air Force, Western Michigan, UNLV, and Southeast Missouri State.

But part of what has made him stand out from the crowd is his status as a three sport All-State athlete. Having earned the distinction twice as a heavyweight wrestler for the Bulldogs, Joiner has also competed as a thrower in track and field—though, until this season, he hadn’t made it out of districts in that sport.

When Joiner finally broke through, qualifying to compete against the Show Me State’s very best, May 26 and 27 at Jefferson City High School, he went on to win the MSHSAA Class 4A Shotput State Title outright on his second throw, a massive personal best of 17.59 meters, or just under 58 feet. He said his previous best was closer to 53 feet.

Derek Joiner, state shot put champion

“I think the biggest difference is that I started to actually listen to my coaching, and, of course, I got much stronger,” Joiner said. “I had a really good two weeks of practice leading up to that. I kind of changed a couple parts of my technique, then once I got to the meet, the adrenaline of [state meet] took over. I just feel it through my warm ups. I knew it was gonna be a good day and my technique felt good. On that throw, when I felt my hips coming through, I knew I could win it.”

Throughout the fall, Joiner was charged with protecting senior quarterback, Joseph Lepak, on the field. Months later, the pair would both become state champions in track, with Lepak claiming the javelin title on a heave of 56.15 meters.

Derek Joiner, All-State offensive lineman

Together, they accounted for 20 of Grandview’s 34 team points, which put the Bulldogs at eighth in the Class 3A team rankings. Junior Griouard Weddington added another ten points with an impressive double, finishing as the runner-up in the 200 meter dash (21.65 seconds) and a third-place finish in the 100 meter dash finals (10.75).

As a three-sports athlete, and especially coming off of such an impressive trio of seasons in his junior campaign, Joiner has a full football season to add to his rising collegiate recruiting stock.

“A lot of coaches I’ve talked to have talked about how impressive it is to be all state and three sports in one year. I think it really shows my athleticism from being as big as I am,” Joiner said. “Right now I’m kind of just looking to see how many more offers I get. I think probably mid-senior year I’ll probably be deciding where I’m going.”

While he will almost certainly need to play just one sport in college, wherever he goes, Joiner understands why coaches appreciate his crossover athleticism.

Derek Joiner, Wrestling Champion

“I think wrestling helps physically and mentally. It helps you learn how to use your hips and your whole body in differing situations. Also, I think it makes you a lot tougher because wrestling—there’s no other sport like it—it’s just a one on one competition. No teams. It’s just you versus somebody else,” Joiner said. “And with track, I think that the explosive motion of throwing also helps your blocking and stuff too.”

With summer being his only time for relief, Joiner will certainly be in good hands. His father, Dan, coaches him in football.

Derek with his dad, Dan Joiner.

“I know it’s hard putting up with me in practice every day and at home, but he definitely does everything he can to make me succeed,” Joiner said.

His goals for his final season on the gridiron?

“I want us to be conference champs and I just want our team to be as successful as possible. And I think we’ll do that this year because we have a really great group of upperclassmen and we’re gonna be ready to work this summer. So I think we have a really great season,” Joiner said.

And after that, will he be looking to defend his state title in shot put?


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