Darius Mitchell signs with UTEP

Darius Mitchell of Harker Heights signs his letter of intent to run track at the University of Texas-El Paso as his mother, Latoya Magee, looks on Wednesday at Harker Heights High School.

HARKER HEIGHTS — Seeking a place to belong, three Harker Heights High School senior athletes made their college choices Wednesday, joining programs where they hope to find a good fit.

For Tony Barnes, the feeling of being wanted by Southern Nazarene’s football program did not dissipate even after he needed reconstructive knee surgery after tearing his ACL and PCL during his junior year.

“A few other schools stopped calling after the injury, but the coaches at Southern kept calling me — they kept letting me know that they were there for me,” Barnes said. “They really showed that they cared.”

Lauren Reynolds also got hurt and Dallas Baptist stayed interested.

“The coaches and team members really made me feel accepted and the school is Christ-oriented, which was a must for me,” the cross-country runner said. “I always put God and Jesus first and they do, too. It’s a great fit.”

Darius Mitchell signed with the University of Texas-El Paso to run track. He was undecided as recently as two weeks ago, but made his decision after a campus visit.

“I expected it to be really small but it wasn’t. It’s a nice, big town,” he said. “But, really, the campus has everything I need. It just felt right.”

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