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Homeschooler Rocco Rowell Soaking Up The Moments Competing In Sports

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Homeschooler Rocco Rowell Soaking Up The Moments Competing In Sports

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Homeschooler Rocco Rowell Soaking Up The Moments Competing In Sports
Homeschooler Rocco Rowell Soaking Up The Moments Competing In Sports

High school student Rocco Rowell has an unusual story about how he ended up on the high school track and field team.

Although home-schooled, Rowell plays sports for the Pueblo East Eagles as well as the Pueblo County Co-op hockey team.

"I love hockey … it's ingrained in me," Rowell said. "I love playing hockey and probably will for the rest of my life, but there's something about playing in front of thousands of people and running with all the fans in the Netherlands, Clark, that's fun."

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Rowell started playing football for East, but soon after, football and track coach Tony Valdez convinced him to join the spring team.

“My first year (playing football) was last year when I was a junior, Coach Valdez did a good job picking me up and telling me to go out and run the line,” Rowell recalled. "I was lucky enough to be on the relay team (4×100 and 4×200) last year and it was amazing. I wouldn't change it for anything."

Rowell does not have the daily relationships or lifestyle of a typical high school student. That's why he enjoys every minute with the team, whether on the soccer field, track or ice.

"Being part of a team … supporting and supporting your teammates when you run is like being part of a family," Rowell said. “There's nothing better than Eastern Athletics, it's a blast. Everyone loves coming to practice every day, and the games are so much fun.

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But it wasn't always fun and glitz for Rowell. When he first joined the Eagles program, he had an adjustment period trying to learn some new names and faces.

"It's hard because a lot of people don't respect [homeschooling] and think it's weird," Rowell said. “It's hard to make new friends when you're here, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's a wonderful experience for me. "I was able to travel across the country (homeschooled) and play all the sports and excel in all sports. It was like I went to a 'regular' high school."

It hasn't always been easy for Rowell, either. At one point he was ready to quit football and wanted to leave the sport altogether. But thanks to his family and coaches, Rowell didn't give up and eventually earned a starting role on the football team his senior year.

The oldest of nine siblings, Rowell strives to make a lasting impression on his younger siblings as he continues to grow up.

"I lead by example and hopefully everyone will start running and playing football," Rowell said. Be nice to them, respect them, and it will make your game when you're on the ice or on the field.

Rowell is looking to make the most of his final season before heading off to college in Texas. He plans to earn a degree in forensics and possibly continue playing sports while attending Southwestern University in a conference. He hopes to one day work in law enforcement and become a member of the Special Forces.

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More information: Pueblo Central Jackson Carroll Athletics

Pueblo Chief sports reporter Christopher Abdelmalek can be reached at cabdelmalek@gannett.com or on Twitter @chowebacca.

This article first appeared on Pueblo Chief; Pueblo East's Rocco Rowell added a run.

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