Huckabee signs with Tarleton
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 by Chuck Kelly
Belton's four year track and cross country standout, Katelin Huckabee, will run for the Tarleton State University Texans next fall. The senior formally accepted an athletic scholarship before family, teammates and classmates Tuesday in the Tiger Athletic Fieldhouse.
"Yes, I'm going to Tarleton in Stephenville and run both track and cross country for coach Pat Ponder," she confirmed. "It's small, I don't like anything really big. Everyone there is very friendly, smiles and says hello and I think I will fit right in. I'll be living in a dorm and my roommate, Amanda, is from down on the gulf coast. Other than that, I don't know anyone there yet."
Longtime head track coach Denise Petter addressed those assembled. "This is an honor for me because Katelin is such a hard worker and an awesome leader. Being a captain for track for two years and cross country two years says a lot about a young lady that can come in and take a role that is not always easy to fill," the coach said, and turning to Katelin, added "We've all watched you grow and mature and I think out of a lot of the kids we see in our program, it makes it all worth it when we have someone that comes through like you. When you make the team at the next level, that makes all of us proud."
Huckabee's accomplishments at BHS are many --- In cross country, she was All-District 12-5A all four years, every year that she participated on the varsity level she was 1st team all-district; she was a regional qualifier all four years in a row, also; and a state qualifier her freshman year.
In track, she was a regional qualifier her junior and senior years, a huge accomplishment to come out of our district and make it to regionals, according to Petter.
Huckabee won all the awards and honors handed out in the track and cross country programs. In four years, she was Newcomer of the Year; Most Improved; won the Coaches Award; and this year was chosen for the Outstanding Track Award. Katelin has been able to earn every award that's handed out in the track and cross country programs.
"Being injured some this year, missing four weeks of training and making it to regionals....that shows what kind of fighter and athlete she is," commented cross country coach Ben Bralley. "She's a true competitor and will really be missed."
Is Katelin really ready to go off to school? "Well, yes and no," she answered. "I'm going to miss my family. My mom is always there for me when I need her....and that's an hour-and-a-half away!"
Mary Ann Huckabee agreed with her daughter. "I have mixed emotions. She's had quite a journey and it's been amazing the way she did a lot of things people didn't think she could do. We are really proud of her. We visited a couple of schools but when we got to Tarleton, Katelin knew that was where she wanted to go. We came home and called the coach."
"Im very proud of her," added her dad, Mike Huckabee. "Katelin's worked very hard thru the years....a lot of after-hours and training. She is very committed to her running. Yes, we will miss her."
Assistant coach Holly Lamberte, who came to Belton this year after 17 years at Temple, paid Huckabee the ultimate compliment, telling the crowd: "For the past three years, Katelin was the girl to beat! As a matter of fact, that was our motto in Temple,' There's Katelin!' or 'Beat Katelin!' I'm very excited and supportive of her going to Tarleton because that's where I ran in college. I'm ready to see what she can do."
Besides athletics, Huckabee will be enrolled in nursing classes. "I want to get into nursing and work in intensive care for children," she explained. "Children are my passion."
Petter closed up the event, relating that Katelin is very, very disciplined and running in high school is one thing but being good enough to be recruited and offered a really good scholarship at the college level is not an easy thing to do.
"Tarleton has an awesome team and to be recruited to go run for the Texans is in itself a huge accomplishment," she stated. "Going from 20 miles a week in high school and stepping up to 65 miles per week at the next level....that's big! But, with Katelin's work ethics, we know she can do it. She has been with me all four years, plus I watched her thru middle school with coach Pam Ernest. Tarleton has a great athletic program and a good reputation. She has been a good role model for the younger girls, so they will keep right on running because she was a good example for them."