Just as in Greek mythology, Lehigh track and field has an Achilles of their own, also known for his strength.
Junior hammer and weight thrower Achilles Mouzakis has become a valuable competitor and prominent leader for the Mountain Hawks’ this season. He is also not the first Mouzakis to compete for Lehigh.
Mouzakis said his brother, Anastasios Mouzakis, ‘21, inspired his throwing career, as he was also a hammer and weight thrower on the track and field team.
In eighth grade, Achilles Mouzakis watched his brother compete and train for hammer and weight throw events, which sparked his interest. When his brother committed to Lehigh, Achilles Mouzakis knew he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“I saw my older brother excel at track and field and thought to myself that if he was able to do it then it couldn’t be too hard to do,” Achilles Mouzakis said.
Achilles Mouzakis started at Lehigh when his brother was a senior. Despite their overlap only lasting a year, Achilles Mouzakis said he enjoyed their experience competing together.
He said it was nice to have a familiar face on campus, and his brother’s influence helped him become who he is today.
Achilles Mouzakis said he credits two other people with his success: Paddy McGrath and Allison Taub.
In high school, Achilles Mouzakis trained with McGrath, a coach at Manhattan College and a former Irish national champion in the hammer throw. He said McGrath pushed his potential and helped develop his skills. Taub is the assistant track and field coach who has guided Achilles Mouzakis’ collegiate performance.
“Allison Taub has really helped and supported me in my success, and Paddy McGrath (is) the person who got me started,” Achilles Mouzakis said.
Achilles Mouzakis has continued to capitalize on opportunities at Lehigh after his brother’s departure. He placed first in the hammer throw at Lehigh’s dual meet against Lafayette and the Monmouth Spring Opener — where he threw a distance of 52.81 meters.
Taub said this is Achilles Mouzakis’ best opener in his career.
“It is really setting the tone for the season and what we want to do when the bigger meets come down the line,” Taub said.
Achilles Mouzakis set a personal record in the hammer throw with a distance of 55.01 meters against Lafayette on April 2.
In addition to his accolades, Achilles Mouzakis has also asserted himself as a mentor.
Taub said the leadership and motivation Achilles Mouzakis exemplifies affects the whole team, not just the throw squad, for which he captains.
She said he has stepped up as an upperclassmen and represents Lehigh as a good athlete, peer and leader.
Sophomore thrower Liam Lovering said Mouzakis always brings positive energy and is someone he considers a role model.
“He is able to joke around with us and focus when he needs to, which is an important feature in a leader because he needs to be our rock at meets,” Lovering said.
Achilles Mouzakis said being captain allows him to lead by example, giving him the opportunity to show younger athletes what it takes to become great.
He said the goal is always to just go out and compete.
“I hope that when I compete, I can spark other people’s events so that when they see me, they get hyped up and try to go out there and do that themselves,” Achilles Mouzakis said.
Achilles Mouzakis said he hopes to place in the top four at the Patriot League Championship, and he will continue to put in the necessary work to reach his goal.
The Mountain Hawks will head to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 14 to compete in the Bison Outdoor Classic.