A few weeks ago we took just one senior, Skylar Grant, and acknowledged her for her great track accomplishments and signing with UWF to run Cross Country in the Fall. She is one of a handful of scholar athletes from the sport we love so much to give us a sign of hope as we return to normal.
We would also like to acknowledge a few others; knowing that we are going to overlook some big names in the sport, please help us to add to this list and also thank every senior who stuck with his/her sport. They give us a window into our past and a glimpse of our future.
From Catholic High School, an outstanding all around athlete is Sam Hooker. He had competed in discuss, javelin, long jump, pole vault, shot put and the 200 meter dash…qualifying two years ago on the 4×4 team and last year in the pole vault. We are told from his coach, Eric Nelson, that he was “also a phenomenal defensive end in football” and plans to attend UNF in the Fall.
From Escambia High School, crushing the locals in the 300 hurdlers was Super Cauthen.
Just before The Great Quarantine of 2020, he had qualified to compete at an open meet at FSU. He also was on the Runner Up State Champion Team playing outside linebacker and corner for the Gators last Fall in Football. He has not yet decided where he plans to go to school but has been in contact with Southeastern Iowa Community College and Waldorf University in Iowa.
Julie-Ann Morgan, from Pace High also competed in the hurdles, 1600, 3200, 4 x 800 and 4 x 400. She had been looking forward to improving her times because she felt she “didn’t get to reach full potential due to a Fall Cross Country injury.”
Julie-Ann plans to attend PSC in the Fall for two years to get a general studies degree, later transferring to four year university to study pre-med.
Inspiration and leadership also describes Richard Whatley, founding member of a local running club called The Goat Farm, and Tate High School. The Goat Farm became an AAU nationally ranked cross country team their first time out in Knoxville, Tennessee. They placed 2nd in their age bracket at Nationals!!! On top of that, his resume includes being the youngest runner to win the Bridge to Bridge in 2018, 4 years of Cross Country and 3 years of track accomplishments, AAU track regional qualifier and AAU Junior Olympics in 2017. Richard has accepted an offer to run Cross Country and Track at Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas.
We would also like to congratulate the following athletes that were recognized by the Pensacola Sports Association:
Boys Cross Country: Christian Ottley of Pace High School
Girls Cross Country: Kylie Thomas of Catholic High School
Boys Track and Field: Philip Gindl of West Florida
Girls Track and Field: Cyla Byrd of Pace
Super Star Multi-Sport Scholarship: John Middleton of Catholic ( Cross Country, Soccer, Track)
UWF Scholarship- Skylar Grant of West Florida
Thank you to ALL the high school athletes that either run because they love it or because it was required by their coach: You #connect us to the running community, You #inspire us to lace up our shoes and run around the block even if it does not feel like it did when we were 17 or 18, you #equip us with your tenacity and courage to set goals and go after them even in the face of adversity, and just by your actions alone, you #encourage us to continue seeking for the best versions of ourselves!!!