TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Brandon Tirado was willing to do whatever it took to come to Florida State.
Even changing events.
An accomplished discus and shot put thrower in high school, Tirado had a handful of scholarship offers from lower-division schools, any of which would have provided him the opportunity to keep throwing in college.
But Tirado, a native of Naples, Fla., only had eyes for Tallahassee.
“Brandon,” Florida State throws coach Dorian Scott said, “is a good example. And he’s going to be somebody I use in stories for a while – if you can work hard and focus and kind of get obsessed with this thing, you can get some results.”
Tirado’s work speaks for itself:
All that to go along with a challenging bachelor’s degree, too. Tirado graduated with his degree in information technology last weekend.
“He’s a product of his own hard work,” Scott said. “For him to accomplish what he’s accomplished, that’s a lot on him. I can’t even say that’s my coaching. That’s his own hard work and his own free will.”
Indeed, at first blush, transitioning from the discus and shot put to the hammer might seem natural. After all, they all involve picking up something heavy and throwing it as far as possible.
Tirado, though, said that the actual skills and techniques required to excel at each might as well make them completely different sports.
“It’s like having a pole vaulter turn into a long jumper,” he said. “You’re both jumping, but it’s a totally different type of event. It takes a long time. It really does.”
Fortunately for Tirado, he had both a coach and a teammate willing to guide him along the way.
In Sineus (2010-15), Tirado found a friend and confidante who provided technique tips and encouraging words in equal measure.
“Markindey was constantly in his ear,” Scott said. “Saying, ‘Hey man, you’re getting better. You’re getting better. You’re getting better.’”
And in Scott, Tirado had a coach who, as a former Seminole thrower himself, knew all about the road that Tirado was walking.
“Dorian, more so than anybody,” Tirado said. “I love the man. He’s a good dude. He’s really helping me a lot.”
As a result, Tirado is entering this week’s championships, held at the University of Virginia, with confidence.
While winning the event would be a tall order – the top two seeds are well ahead of the rest of the field – Tirado should find himself in the thick of the competition for third place.
His 64.80 provided him with the official third seed, and there are four other throwers with seed marks at 60 meters or better.
If he can hold his seed, Tirado would do more than his part to help the FSU men repeat as ACC champions.
And if he can improve on his mark by more than one meter, Tirado will leave Florida State with a new school record. He will compete at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
“He’s always been an all-in guy,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “Loves the sport. First guy here, last guy to leave, your classic, hard, hard-working kid. …
“If you’re going to win a conference meet, you need the Brandon Tirados.”
Regardless of how things shake out in Charlottesville, Tirado has already earned a qualifying mark for the NCAA East Preliminary in two weeks and plans to soak in every moment that remains in his collegiate career.
Once it ends, though, Tirado knows what comes next.
With a passion for cybersecurity first developed in high school, Tirado started working toward a career in information security and privacy more than two years ago.
A chance Uber ride with a member of FSU’s own information security office led to an internship there, and Tirado has since spent hours learning the trade – both as a volunteer and for college credit.
And he already has job interviews scheduled with cybersecurity companies in Tampa and Atlanta.
“I know that track is going to come to an end, and my time here is going to come to an end,” Tirado said. “So I’m just trying to help myself, post-graduation. Something I put the time and effort into. It’s definitely hard, but I know it’s worth it.”