Three Hillcrest Patriots sign with UWA track
Sat. April 05, 2014 at 12:50 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
When Keaundra Hutton found out about a chance to compete in college, he let a couple of teammates know about it.
Hutton, KeAndre Knox and Kevin Garrett, senior track athletes at Hillcrest High School, signed on Thursday to run for the University of West Alabama in Livingston. UWA has a new track coach in Ray Stanfield, who took over in January.
"I was the leader, and I brought my other two guys in," Hutton said. "I got them in contact with the coach and let them know there was an opportunity to go down there to try to run for a scholarship.
"A lot of it was the coaching staff. They really reached out to us. Coach Stanfield is a great coach. They gave us an opportunity, we went for a visit and we really liked the campus."
Knox, who hopes to become a certified athletic trainer, said he will probably concentrate on the 400 meters and the 4x400 relay when he gets to West Alabama. A four-year member of the Hillcrest varsity team, Knox is competing this season in the 200, the 400, the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay.
"It was electrifying to me (to sign)," he said.
"I’d like to thank God first and my family for being there for me through all of this.
"(Knox and Garrett) are very grateful. Being able to sign with them made me feel pretty good.
"It ranks high for me; very, very high. It’s just a blessing to be able to do something like this because a lot of people aren’t able to do it, so I’m thanking God for it."
Knox said that when he found out he sent an email to Stanfield.
"It’s a big-time experience being able to sign with a four-year university," he said. "The three years I’ve been on the varsity team I just worked as hard as I could to be able to get a track scholarship.
"It’s all about self-motivation. At practice, you can’t have one good day and another bad day. You’ve got to go out there every day, ready to train to the best of your ability."
Knox said he expects to concentrate on the 400 and the 4x400 relay. His events this season include the 100, the 400, the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay.
"This was the best opportunity for me, and it being close to home was another factor," said Knox, who plans to major in sports science. "When I contacted the coach, he was just a nice man. I think he will put me on the next level where I need to be to be able to compete with college athletes."
Garrett, who attended Westlawn Middle School, lived in Illinois before enrolling at Hillcrest for his junior and senior years. His specialties include the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles, the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay.
"I had hope because I knew I had worked hard just like (Hutton)," Garrett said. "I got in touch with the coach. I knew that if he wanted Keaundra he would want me too. (Stanfield) wanted me to specialize in the hurdles. He also mentioned the 4x400 relay.
"It was real close to home, and I’ll be able to come home every weekend and see my family."
Garrett plans to major in exercise science.
"I just thought about the future, new beginnings," he said. "Most people don’t get this opportunity, so it felt special."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.