COPPERAS COVE – Andrew Leuthner’s mind is made up.

With months separating the Copperas Cove standout from his senior track season, Leuthner did not want to waste time waiting for something else to come along.

He wanted to focus on his immediate future with the Bulldawgs, and to do so, he had to finalize his collegiate decision.

On Wednesday morning, Leuthner did just that, committing to run track at Incarnate Word during a signing ceremony inside Bulldawg Gymnasium.

Now, nothing will be holding the fleet-footed sprinter back or weighing him down.

“I won’t have to worry about college, transitioning to college or how am I going to pay for college and all that stuff,” Leuthner said. “I’m set to go, and I don’t have to worry about anything. I’m just excited about the future.”

Copperas Cove head boys track and field coach Keith Stifflemire agrees with Leuthner’s decision to clear his conscious.

“All he has to worry about is going out and performing,” Stifflemire said. “His future is set, and all he has to be concerned with is finishing his high school career with another great season for the Bulldawgs.”

As a junior, Leuthner advanced to the area meet in the 100-meter dash, placing sixth with a time of 11.26 seconds and was a member of Copperas Cove’s fourth-place 800 relay team.

During the offseason, he continued to excel, qualifying for the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympic Games in the 100 and 400 relay over the summer.

In the process, Incarnate Word became enamored with the dual-sport athlete, who played football for the Bulldawgs as well, and once an offer was made, Leuthner jumped on the opportunity.

“This was an offer I could not refuse,” he said, “and later down the road, I don’t know that the offer would have been there or if another school would have contacted me.

“So, right now, this is what is for sure, and opportunities come and go, but I couldn’t let this opportunity slip.”

Copperas Cove athletic director Jack Welch feels Leuthner made the right choice.

“There just are not a lot of opportunities to receive a track scholarship out there,” Welch said. “It is kind of like picking a needle out of a haystack, so to get an opportunity presented like the one we have here, it is a great thing. But it is not just a great thing for the athlete, it is great for the program.”

Stifflemire stated Leuthner’s legacy creates an impression on the community as well.

“This will have a long-lasting affect on the kids who are still in elementary school and junior high,” Stifflemire said. “He is having an affect on those kids that he doesn’t even know about, and I am so proud of Andrew.”

While Leuthner is excited about the future, he is not looking past his final season at Copperas Cove. In fact, his goals for this season are set higher than ever.

“I want to break the school record in the 100-meter dash and quite possibly the 200,” he said. “I’m going to have to train hard for that, but I surprise myself every day, and I’m grateful for that.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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