HARKER HEIGHTS — For three Harker Heights athletes, all the hard work paid off Thursday.
Cody Halvorson and Harold “CJ” Bell signed to play basketball at Hesston College and Jacksonville College, respectively, and Scott McEwan signed to run cross country at Tarleton State in a ceremony at the Harker Heights High School gymnasium.
For Halvorson, who is tied for the school record for 3-pointers in a single game, it was a fitting end after all the hard work he put in on that very floor where he signed his letter of intent.
“It just shows all the hard work that we do on this court, all the two-a-days, the long practices, the running, the yelling from (head coach Celneque) Bobbitt, it means a lot,” Halvorson said. “We have a lot of great players who deserve the opportunity to extend their career, so it just shows what Heights does.”
But Halvorson said Hesston won him over with its qualities off the court.
“Education is important to me, and they have a good education system,” Halvorson said. “So, I felt that that was a place for me to be, I could really excel there and then hopefully go on to bigger and better things.”
His teammate, Bell, landed an opportunity with Jacksonville College thanks to his performance at a tryout for the team.
“I went to the tryout, it was either go to college or the military, so I go to a couple of tryouts, and this was the first tryout I went to, and I had a great day at tryouts,” Bell said.
Bell and Halvorson rounded out a signing class of five seniors for the basketball team as all but one of the Knights’ starters — C.J. Bobbitt, a junior who can’t even sign yet — is now signed to play at the next level.
As successful as the Knights were on the basketball court, winning a district title and advancing to the regional quarterfinals in the playoffs, McEwan was every bit as successful in cross country, winning a district title himself in his final season.
After an email exchange with the head coach at Tarleton, McEwan ensured that he hasn’t raced his last race just yet.
“It feels great to continue my career into college,” McEwan said. “Because running in college has been a goal of mine because I didn’t want to just stop in high school — because I really love running, and I think I have more room to improve.”
His head coach at Heights, Julian Acuna, was particularly happy to see his star runner get a shot at the next level.
“He’s a great student and a great athlete and he’s a very, very hard worker,” Acuna said. “If anyone was given the opportunity to move on to the next level from the team he’s one of those guys that deserves the chance to go on and continue his career.”
Heights boys basketball coach Celneque Bobbitt has done his fair share of speaking at ceremonies like the one Thursday this school year.
But Bobbitt was just as excited Thursday as he was in November, when Cameron and Josh DeLaney and Roderick Taylor signed letters of intent, as Heights added two more basketball players and a cross country runner to its list of college athletes produced.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Bobbitt said.
“We’re just elated that these guys got an opportunity to go to school, and hopefully they have a great run of it in college.”