Whitener, 18, son of Joelle and Charles Whitener of Dallas, is preparing to start his freshman year in the fall at Harvard University on a track and field scholarship.
With all of his athletic achievements, he also could boast of his work in the classroom. He has a 4.0 grade point average, scored a 1920 on the SAT, a 30 on the ACT and is ranked No. 3 in his class.
At Harvard he plans to study biophysics. He said he would like to go into the medical or research field once he earns his degree.
The athlete competes in events such as the shot put, discus, hammer throw and the weight throw, which consists of a 25-pound ball attached to a chain and handle. His personal records in each event are 56 feet in shot put, 147 feet discus, 199 feet in hammer throw and 79 feet in weight throw.
He has accumulated accolades such as the recently crowned state champion in shot put, second place in discus at state, current region champion in shot put and discus, sectional champion in shot put, indoor All American and Junior Olympic All American and gold medalist.
He said his success comes from “good coaching and a lot of training in the offseason.”
Whitener has been throwing since he was a freshman in high school, and joined Throw 1 Deep, a Marietta-based team that travels the nation to compete, during his sophomore year.
“I like the actual action of throwing,” he said.
Whitener said his goal for college is, “hopefully I make the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] Nationals.”
Training is what he likes to do in his spare time, as Whitener trains six days a week for two to three hours each day, he said.
Whitener describes himself as a kind person, driven and humble.
Principal Mark Crowe nominated Whitener for his abilities in his studies and his sport.
“He is a phenomenal athlete, and academically gifted,” Crowe said.
He described Whitener as humble and hard working.
“Natural gifts can only take you so far, but he has a lot of drive,” Crowe said.