By CRAIG HALL
Heavener senior Nathan Binns signed to run cross country and track with the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon.
Binns is the second senior to sign with a college to run track after state cross country champion Barbara Johnson signed with East Central University.
“I am really thrilled Nathan is going to join us at USAO,” said Sid Hudson, the Drovers’ head coach in cross country. “He’s the kind of student we are looking for at USAO.”
Binns qualified for the state cross country meet in 3A the last two seasons. He has a 3.93 grade point average at Heavener and scored a 28 on his ACT. Binns plans a double major in chemistry and physics.
“Coach (Ray) West suggested USAO and I looked at in November,” said Binns. “And I loved it.”
USAO is located in Chickasha. Originally his time was not good enough, but Binns has shaved his time enough to attract Hudson’s attention.
“He’s gotten excellent coaching in high school and is ready to go to college and be successful,” said Hudson. “He’s tall and lean and will be ready to go in college because of his size.”
In cross country at the college level, the men run 8K instead of 5K, which makes endurance that more important.
“I really think he will do better at 8K instead of 5K and be more successful,” Hudson said. “Of course, Nathan is an outstanding student first and that is what we are looking for at USAO.”
Binns plans to arrive at USAO a couple of weeks before school starts to begin training for the season. Just like he does at Heavener, Binns also hopes to run track for the Drovers.
“It really felt like home,” Binns said of USAO “I toured the college and everybody was relaxed. Professors were wearing t-shirts and sweats.”
In track, Binns isn’t sure what events he will compete in but hopes to run in multiple events. This will be his fourth year to run track while he has competed in cross country for two years.
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