By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Carthage High School seniors Hunter Blount and Oscar Sarceno, perhaps unique because they’ve been under the track and cross country “spell” for a relatively brief time, signed letters of intent on Thursday.
Blount is walking on at NCAA Division II Pittsburg State University of the MIAA.
Now, putting it mildly, Sarceno is going deeper into Kansas. How about seven hours west of Carthage to join the Garden City Community College Broncbusters?
“It’s pretty far away. It is seven hours,” Sarceno said. “But I’m up to it.”
Carthage coach Andy Youngworth wasn’t taking credit for Sarceno hooking up with a school seven hours away from home and friends.
“Credit goes to our cross country assistant Arely Smith for finding out about Garden City.” Youngworth said.
Carthage graduate Smith, who competed for Allen County Community College of Iola and Southwestern College of Winfield, was familiar with Garden City and coach Ryan Turner.
“I liked all of the people I met and the coaching staff,” Sarceno said of the visit to Garden City. “I didn’t meet any of the runners. Garden City has been successful. I hope I can contribute.
“I’m excited,” Sarceno, a 5-foot-9, 150-pounder, said. “Cross country takes a lot of heart. I’ve basically competed for just two years. I love it.”
Said Youngworth: “Oscar began running the summer before his junior year. He just showed up, worked hard and became a leader and motivator.”
Sarceno won the Tiger Pride Award in 2011 and Most Improved Player last fall, Youngworth said.
Oscar, the son of Sofia Lopez and Oscar Sarceno Sr., said he’s undecided about a major.
Said Youngworth of Blount: “He ran a lot last summer and had an outstanding senior season. He’s so young, running-wise, it will take time to adjust to college. But he’ll be a find for coach (Russ) Jewett at PSU. Hunter is a diamond in the rough.”
Said Hunter: “This is a great opportunity. Last year was my first in cross country. Now I’m serious about it. I’d competed in track as a sophomore and junior. I liked it, too, but basically I was doing it because my friends were doing it.
“We visited Pittsburg State in March,” Blount (6-0, 140) said. “I certainly liked the campus, I met several of the distance runners.”
Blount, highlighting his track efforts for the Tigers, has been a member of their successful 4x800 relay team as both a junior and senior.
Hunter, who plans to major in business management, is the son of Martha and Kirk Blount. Their daughter, Hannah, plays volleyball at Southwest Baptist.