By MARINA WATERS
Grayson Fugate signed with Milligan College to continue his running career on Friday, Nov. 16, but the high school senior didn’t know that running was something he wanted to do in college until about a year ago.
“Honestly, I didn’t even like running until freshman year,” Fugate said at his signing. “But I think it was last year I was like, ‘I like this. I want to continue to do this.’ So it was probably last year that I knew I wanted to run.”
The four-year David Crockett High School runner will run cross country and track for the Milligan Buffaloes. Head track and cross country coach, Mark Jennings, said that during Fugate’s time as a Pioneer, he’s been a highly coachable students athlete with a bright future.
“We’re really proud,” Jennings said. “He works really hard. He always gives it his best and does whatever you tell him to do. He shows up on time and I’m glad to see him get some success here. We’re wishing him a lot of luck. We know he’s going to get there. (Milligan Coach Chris Layne) is one of the best coaches in this area.”
It’s not been an easy road for Fugate: the senior runner said he had to overcome an injury each season as a Pioneer. Now that he’s taken the time to heal, he has one final season to lace up with the friends and teammates he’s grown up with as track season will start in the spring of 2019.
“It’s going to be pretty fun,” Fugate said. “I’ve known these guys for, some of them, forever. It’s going to be fun just going out there and competing with them one last time.”
But there’s another person who has impacted his running career; Fugate said if there was one person who had an effect on his running career, it’s Dave Roy, who was instrumental in Fugate’s start in middle school.
“If I was to thank one man the most it would probably be Dave Roy over there,” Fugate said. “He’s the only reason that I’m running. He looked at me and he said, ‘You look like a distance runner.’ That’s how I got started.”
Apart from growth in his own athletic career, Fugate noted the change he’s seen in Crockett athletics as cross country, football, softball and other Pioneer teams have been on the up and up in recent years.
“It’s honestly amazing I feel like,” Fugate said. “I remember my freshman year we weren’t necessarily good at any sport. So to see all the sports grow has been a wonderful thing.”