HENNESSEY, Okla. — —
By Ryan Costello
She jumped the gun to scuttle one season, and fainted to close the next, but Hennessey senior Cheyenne Choate’s recent run of bad luck on tracks and cross country courses ended Wednesday.
The six-time state champion distance runner made her college choice official before a gathering of supporters and coaches during a national signing day event in the Hennessey gym, penning her intent to do her post-high school running at East Central University in Ada.
Choate lost the chance to defend two titles last season, losing her chance at another title in the state 3,200-meter run by jumping the gun in the regionals, and “blacking out” a mile into her run at the 3A State Cross Country Meet in Shawnee.
“I’ve had some bad luck the past couple seasons,” Choate said, later adding “I still have track season, so I’m looking forward to that, proving that I’m still (good). All of my seasons have been good, but my state meets haven’t been very good (lately). I’ve still proven myself, but state meets haven’t worked out very well for me.”
Choate was initially hesitant to choose East Central. The 18-year-old preferred a school with both track and cross country programs, and for the moment, the Tigers’ track program is unofficial.
“I’ve always wanted to do track and cross country both,” she said “I actually like track more than cross country, but (currently) they don’t have that, so I thought, ‘I don’t want to go there.’ But they’re working on getting it.”
Choate ran the two-mile in 12:11.00 to take 2A Cross Country gold as a junior in 2011, and with an 11:47 as a sophomore a year earlier. She’ll be joining an East Central cross country team that finished 16th of 26 teams at the NCAA Central Regional in November on the campus of Missouri Southern.
“I’m excited for college,” said Choate, who plans to major in kinesiology and go into coaching or physical therapy after graduation. “I’m ready to go.”
Joining Choate at the signing podium Wednesday were fellow Hennessey seniors Levi Hill and Trevor Dowell.
Hill rushed for 1,851 yards and 27 touchdowns his senior season, leading the Eagles to the 2A semifinals, where they fell short of a third straight state championship.
He will continue his career at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, which finished 4-7 in its first year as an NCAA Division II team.
“It was a little closer to home, and it seems like they’re going to build up their program pretty nice, so it sounded like a good place to be,” said Hill, who plans on a major in fire safety.
After averaging 38.1 yards per punt, converting his only field goal attempt and completing 46 PATs his senior season, Dowell will kick for Southwestern Oklahoma State University next season, but he wasn’t sure whether it would be as a punter, place kicker, or both.
“They weren’t specific, but I’ll practice it all,” he said.
SWOSU finished 3-8 last season, its second season in the the Great American Conference.