By Taylor Grafft
Senior Ryan House, who was the 800-Meter Area Champion this year with a time of 2:04.46, signed with Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene so that he could compete in both cross country and track at the next level.
House signed his letter of intent in front of a crowd of friends, family, coaches and supporters on Tuesday afternoon in the Liberty Hill High School Library.
House said he was grateful for all the people that showed up and could not wait to start competing at Hardin-Simmons when he arrives in the fall.
“I’m ready to start a new chapter,” said House. “I’m going to really miss my friends and teachers once I graduate.”
House said he realized his dream of competing after high school in his junior season of cross country. He explained that he didn’t want his senior year to be his final time to compete and that the joy of competing really drives him.
Once House realized he wanted to continue competing after high school, his mother encouraged him to put out feelers for interested schools where he could pursue his dreams. House contacted Hardin-Simmons and sent them results from his previous seasons and Hardin-Simmons liked what they saw.
“They came out and watched me run cross country this fall,” House said. “That’s when things really started to pick up and they told me they were really interested.”
After Hardin-Simmons’ interest picked up, the track coach (who is also the cross country coach) encouraged House to visit the campus in Abilene.
“Once I got on campus that kind of sealed the deal for me,” House said. “I went on a tour and got to talk with the coach for a long time. Then he introduced me to some of the track athletes that were already there and I also got to meet with the assistant coaches.”
House is looking to major in business, but says that he hasn’t totally made up his mind on that just yet. House said that he had never been to Abilene before his visit, other than driving through a couple of times. However, he said it was a nice, smaller city that he looks forward to exploring once on campus.
House started running in the fourth and fifth grades when he got involved in a running program.
“That’s where I first got started and feel in love with running and competing,” House said. “I continued in seventh and eighth grade and then got better in high school and just continued to compete.”
House says that his coaches along the way have helped him immensely in his career.
“It seems like they have done everything for me and I owe them a lot,” House said. “Coach (Kim) Holt was the first person that really got me going and set some standards for me. She made me want to reach my goals and be more mature.”
House also said that Coach Gretchen Peterson has been a positive influence in his track career with her encouragement.
“Coach Peterson was always someone that was positive and told me good job if I did good or bad in a race,” House said. “She was a great motivator and person.”
House says that once he gets to Hardin-Simmons he will continue to run in the 800-Meter Run and will also try running the mile race, in addition to competing in cross country.