Tis the season, the season for signings. All around the area a select few athletes are deciding where they will take their next step in athletics, as well as academics. It is one of the toughest decisions any of these young men and women have had to make up to this point in their lives, and that was no different for Minford’s Devon Applegate, who signed on to continue his academic and athletic career with Shawnee State University (SSU).
The Falcon cross country senior made it official when he signed his letter of intent to run for the Bears once he enters college. Surrounded by former, current, and future cross country coaches, Applegate put pen to paper committing to take his talents to SSU.
SSU Cross Country Coach Eric Putnam was on hand to witness Apllegate’s signing, and was pleased with his decision to join the SSU program.
“I’m excited he’s coming to Shawnee from the local area,” said Putnam. “I think he is one of the most talented kids I’ve ever seen since I’ve been at Shawnee.”
Putnam has headed the SSU’s cross country program since 2005.
“I think he has tremendous room to grow, as far as a runner,” added Putnam.
Applegate has succeeded not only in his cross country endeavors, but also in his academic endeavors.
“Academically he’s very strong,” said Putnam. “He’s high ranked, so I think academically we’re excited to get somebody who is that smart, and is that good at school.”
Applegate’s high school coach, Ann Marie Allen had high praises for Devon as well.
“He’s been an amazing runner, and is a 4.0 student and on the National Honor Society,” said Allen. “He went to regionals last year, and this year. He’s been our top runner for all three years that I’ve coached.”
Allen said the moment was bittersweet for her, and others affiliated with the school’s cross country team.
“I’m going to be very sad to lose him, and see him go, but I’m also excited to see the potential he has running with a collegiate team that’s at Shawnee’s level,” said Allen. “He’s a phenomenal kid who works very hard on the field, in the classroom, and he also holds a part time job too.”
Putnam and Allen were glad to see Applegate choose to stay closer to home for his collegiate athletic and academic career.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him,” said Allen. “They have a program that he wants to do there, and it’s a great opportunity for him to advance his running with a great group of runners, and it just so happens to be close to home, which is also a nice advantage.”
“He fits sort of a mold of kids that we’ve had throughout the years that we’ve had a lot of success with,” added Putnam.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82