Basketball player and middle distance runner Silas Madrigal knows a thing or two about breaking records.
Last year at Chobee Nation high school, he earned offensive player of the year honours, after breaking the school record for most points in a season, most points in a game, most three-pointers in a single game, and most three-pointers in a single season.
In one memorable game, he brought a crowd of adoring high school basketball fans to their feet when he scored a record setting 30-points, in what he describes as the greatest moment of this sporting career.
“The crowd went crazy,” said the 16-year-old from Okeechobee Florida. “Both my parents and my little sister were there cheering me on. It was a great feeling.”
In addition to that, two years ago while attending Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School, he broke the school record for the mile run in a time of five-minutes-40-seconds. While on the basketball court there, he earned both defensive and offensive player of the year honours.
At five-foot-nine-inches, Madrigal says one of his biggest challenges as an athlete is that he is usually the smallest player on the basketball court. More than looking to his father whom he calls his main motivator, Madrigal says he looks to NBA star Steph Curry for inspiration when it comes to overcoming obstacles.
“In the NBA at times [Curry] is the smallest player in the game but he doesn’t let that stop him,” said Madrigal. “It inspires me to do great things even though I’m not as big as everyone else.”
A member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Madrigal says he feels very close to his Indigenous community and that practicing his Creek language is one important way he is helping to keep his culture alive.
“I sometimes talk to my mom in Creek, and speak the language in my community,” said Madrigal. “I need to keep my tradition alive so I can pass it on to my future children.”
As far as future sports records go, he has a more personal one he is determined to break.
“My goal is to play sports for a well-known college and then go professional,” said Madrigal. “I would be the first in my family to accomplish that goal.”
Madrigal will be representing Team Florida in the mile and the 800-metre at the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games in July. He says he is thrilled to be making his first trip north of the border.
“It means a lot to me,” remarked Madrigal. “It means I worked really hard to get there.”