Austin White

Valley View senior Austin White signed with Oklahoma Panhandle State for track and field Wednesday. L to R: Valley View athletic director Curtis King, senior Austin White, Valley View boys' track coach Ivan Martinez.

Senior year may be over, but one Valley View Eagle still has plenty of running in his future.

Austin White signed Wednesday with Oklahoma Panhandle State University for track and field.

White said he had a lot on his mind as he signed.

“I’m thinking about several different things,” White said. “I’m thinking I’m making my family proud. I’m making my coaches proud, and I’m making myself proud. I’ve worked hard for this moment, and it’s bringing me a lot of joy.”

White made it to regionals in the boys’ 100-meter and 200-meter dashes this season. He said he plans to run both events at Panhandle State along with anything else the coaches ask.

Valley View boys’ track coach Ivan Martinez said seeing White sign was a proud moment.

“Austin’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had,” Martinez said. “I’ve been coaching track for now for 11 years, been around the sport for 25. He has a can-do attitude, never give up attitude… Having him the last two years and seeing him progress from what he was last year to getting as far as he did year was fantastic.”

Panhandle State is in Goodwell, Oklahoma. The Aggies are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and play in the Sooner Athletic Conference alongside schools from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Arkansas.

This past season was Panhandle’s first since reinstating track and field. White will look to help the Aggies build their young program.

Martinez said White should fit in well at Panhandle.

“Coming from Valley View to going up to the Panhandle, the culture there is being started, and that’s one of the big things Austin really liked, talking to the coach,” Martinez said. “They’re restarting that program fresh, so being that foundational part, I think it’s actually going to be really good for him. He’s going to be able to leave his mark there, and I can’t wait to see what he does.”

As a junior, White trained alongside fellow junior Colby Lewis as Lewis prepared to compete in regionals in 2021. Lewis, who since transferred to Sanger and signed with Tarleton State, finished third in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes that season.

Martinez said White’s time with Lewis last year and his individual work this year have prepared him for a higher level of competition.

“I think he is very prepared,” Martinez said. “(He has been) setting new personal records for himself, dropping his times, facing great competition at regionals, seeing what Division I and Division II quality athletes look like and being right there in the race with them. He’s gotten to see that competition, and now he knows what he has to do to prepare himself for that and push forward.”

White said Martinez and Valley View prepared him to take this step, and he believes he is up to the challenge.

“I’ve worked hard for this,” White said. “I’m glad that it’s finally paying off.”

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