Paradise will move on to Army ROTC
Ryan Paradise was looking for a strong combination of academics and athletics entering college. The 2016 Emmaus High School graduate wanted to attend a school that had a strong engineering program and cross country and track and field teams that would challenge him.
He found both at Lehigh University. It also helped that the school had a military program.
“Lehigh fit the mold of the school I wanted,” said Paradise. “My conversations with coach [Todd] Etters and many of my future teammates sealed the deal in the recruiting process and led to me applying early decision to Lehigh. I had also received a National Army ROTC scholarship to Lehigh during my senior year of high school which, sealed the deal. I enrolled in the Steel Battalion Army ROTC program at Lehigh in the fall of my freshman year.”
In his final season running cross country as a Mountain Hawk, Paradise finished ninth on team and 64th overall at the Patriot League Championships last November in a time of 27:24.20. He was also named to the Patriot League academic honor roll.
In his last track meet on February 15, Paradise placed second in the 100-meter run (20:33.80) at Monmouth University. But, like every other spring sports student-athlete, his outdoor track season ended before it started.
“The weird thing is that I didn’t know that race was going to be my last,” Paradise said. “I had my best cross country season this past fall and my best track season ever just that previous spring. The fact that I didn’t know it would be my last made me realize the hard way that everyone should in fact run every race as their last because you never know when it could be taken away. So many athletes live by this because injury or extreme circumstances come at an instant and can affect your ability to compete for a long time. It helped me appreciate the opportunities I had to compete at Lehigh so much more after the fact.”
His time at Lehigh University molded him not only as a student-athlete, but also as an adult preparing for life after school.
“I am beyond happy that I chose Lehigh,” said Paradise. “I have been afforded so many great opportunities that have allowed me to have such a diverse experience. Lehigh emphasizes the fact that you are a student-athlete. The education Lehigh gave me was a combination of all the different experiences I had as a runner on the cross country and track and field team, as a mechanical engineering student and as a cadet in the Army ROTC program.”
His time at Lehigh also gave Paradise the chance to see ddifferent parts of the world.
“Lehigh provided me the opportunity to travel abroad to Honduras after my freshman year on a cultural proficiency program,” he said. “Following my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Seville, Spain, for one month to take an advanced grammar course and to immerse myself in Spanish culture.
“As an athlete at Lehigh, I was able to train and compete with a group of people who all had high aspirations for themselves and their teammates not only on the track but for the rest of their life. One of the pillars of leadership in Lehigh Athletics is team-first mentality. As an athlete at Lehigh, you learn what it means to be a team player, a skill that can be applied in many other facets of your life.”
Paradise also enjoyed his time as an Emmaus student-athlete, competing in three different sports.
He was a member of the Green Hornets cross country and track and field teams, and was an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 champion member of the boys soccer team. Emmaus shaped and prepared him to balance the rigors of being a Division I student-athlete.
“My four years at Emmaus taught me how to be versatile,” Paradise said. “Similar to my experience in college, I liked to keep myself involved in high school. During my senior year of high school, I played soccer and ran cross country in the fall. It taught me how to balance my time well and to set my priorities straight. The combination of athletics, academics, extracurriculars and applying to colleges helped me develop better time management skills.
“Athletically, I found a love for my sports there, especially running. It’s why I decided to run in college. My distance coach, coach Shovlin, is one of the reasons why I came to love running so much, in addition to the many great teammates I had in high school.”
He was prepared for college classrooms after the challenging course work he had in high school.
“Emmaus also set me up for success in the classroom. The honors and AP courses I took went a long way in preparing me for the rigor of college engineering courses. I had confidence in my high school education and that served me well entering Lehigh’s engineering curriculum.”
Paradise will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He will then commission from the Steel Battalion into the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant, and report to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for an Engineering Basic Officer Leaders Course on July 27.