By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
With a combination of prayers, support, hard work and a corroboration between high school and summer league track coaches, former Harker Heights jumper and sprinter Chris High is going to one of the most prestigious track programs in the country: Baylor.
"It's unbelievable," High said of the scholarship opportunity. "It feels like a dream come true."
High listened as his friends, family and coaches all spoke about him in front of a small crowd at the Killeen Community Center and said it was hard to hold back tears as each bade him congratulations and well-wishes.
"It was breathtaking," High said. "It was tough. There was like a knot in my throat that I had to keep down because I'd tear up if I didn't."
When High finally got his chance to respond, he thanked his coaches: Harker Heights' John Dulaney and summer league coaches Billy Spiller and Bill Collins.
"Chris just worked his tail off this year," Dulaney said. "He continued his track conditioning through the summer ... it's a tribute to his hard work and perseverance."
A lingering leg injury hampered High throughout his senior year, but he still finished second at the District 13-5A meet in the 400 with a time of 50.47 seconds and fourth in the long jump (21 feet, 4 1/4 inches). He ran a 51.92 at the Region II-5A meet in Waco and failed to make the finals.
At Baylor, High will join former local standouts Tiffany Townsend (Killeen High) and Robert Griffin III (Copperas Cove).
"I was shocked," High said when he found out that Baylor was interested. "I was like, 'Are you sure?'"
After he graduated, High kept with his training and cut his time to a 47.9 as an anchor for the 1,600 relay team at a meet at Texas Christian, his father, Bruce said.
"Shock," Bruce said was his first reaction when he heard his son was headed to Baylor. "I knew he had the ability. Now, he has the chance to go."
Bruce added that the family church, New Zion Christian Fellowship, started praying for Chris.
"It just shows that nothing is impossible," Bruce said. "Him going to Baylor is awesome."
In addition to his track abilities, High turned heads during the 2007-08 football season as well. He rushed for nearly 900 yards and got the attention of Abilene Christian, Tarleton State and others for his football abilities and was forced to make a decision between football and track.
"I thought, 'Should I do football or should I do track?," High said. "I've played football for the last 12 or 13 years. It's time to do something new. I'm pretty much done with football."
Instead, he's going to a university where he'll be trained by former Olympians.
"Basically, I did everything my coaches told me," High said. "The training, you'd think it would be impossible to do ... but when you do it, it hurts you, but you did it."
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.