Every year, sports enthusiasts hear podcasters, announcers and analysts heap praise upon players, using phrases like, ‘he’s got that it factor,’ ‘there’s something special about him’ or the all-new common colloquialism, ‘he’s just built different.’
But it’s hard to find a player who has that something special, someone who is reliable, selfless and leads by example. Rather, it may be better to say that finding a player with those qualities is difficult … in most places.
At Taylor University, senior dual-sport athlete Liam Hesting embodies every single quality any player would wish to have. A work ethic like no other. A school legacy etched in the record books. A humble man who leads by example. Hesting is the whole package.
Over the past four years, Hesting has been a part of the Trojans football team and the indoor and outdoor track roster as a thrower. Before even attending Taylor, his high school football team — the Columbia City Eagles — would have a training camp at Turner Stadium each summer. But he wasn’t smitten with the school at first sight.
“In high school, my football team would come to Taylor for a short camp each summer, and I always hated campus.” Hesting said. “Eventually, I began being recruited for track and field and football. Taylor was one of the few schools that would let me do both sports, so I came for an overnight visit on Silent Night, and … I knew that Taylor was where God was leading me.”
In track and field, Hesting has racked up numerous accomplishments, including multiple NAIA Nationals appearances, multiple school records, being consistently named All-Crossroads League and being awarded as an All-American his sophomore year.
Head coach of the Trojans track and field team Derek Gay said, “He (Hesting) has gotten better in every event, each consecutive season. Any throwing event is highly technical, (and) for him to show the progression that he has … is remarkable. Being an All-American is huge … leaving with three school records is incredibly impressive as well. All of this while managing his busy academic schedule and playing football as well is almost unheard of.”
This season, Hesting has qualified for NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Nationals in both the hammer throw and discus throw, while breaking his own personal records in multiple events along the way.
On the football field, Hesting had the job of bolstering the offensive line. Having played football longer than he could remember, he was a natural fit when recruited for the Trojans roster. Head coach of the football team Aaron Mingo said that Hesting is “the epitome of reliability,” and that even as he battled an ankle injury for the majority of his senior season, Hesting’s work ethic, passion, and positive attitude were felt by the entire team as his example inspired his teammates.
Off the field, Hesting is one of Taylor’s Presidential Fellows working to better Taylor University itself by meeting with campus leaders, creating various events on campus and showing up to the advancement office every week to contribute wherever he is needed.
With all of these skills and compliments to fall back on, Hesting’s humility may be his most remarkable trait. Described as self-disciplined, impactful and selfless by both Coach Gay and Coach Mingo, his heart and dedication are in a class of their own — even if he’ll never mention it.
“I do appreciate it greatly when people congratulate me on athletic performances or accolades or whatnot. The one thing I would say is that it isn’t me! I could not be where I am or who I am today without the grace, love, blessings and leadership of God in my life,” Hesting said.
In the end, Liam Hesting has excelled in every area he’s stepped foot into. He’s reliable. He’s selfless. He’s even engaged! Despite the fact that Taylor will be losing one of their most committed student-athletes after this spring, wherever Hesting goes, he’s sure to excel. In short, he’s just ‘built different.’