McKissick commits to Tarleton for track
By Lance Catchings
Senior Brandon McKissick had a track season to remember. It culminated with a trip to the 4A State Track Meet and a fifth place finish in the 400 meter dash. Now McKissick will live out another one of his dreams as last Wednesday he signed to participate in track at Tarleton State University next season.
“It all started at the beginning of this year when I really put the effort into track,” McKissick said.
“Whenever I quit football I wanted to make sure I was doing it for a reason. So this year was the year I really made running at the collegiate level my goal.”
Originally McKissick kept his options open but things started to line up more and more for TSU.
“I looked at a few different schools,” he said.
“Tarleton was the main school that contacted me back. I was accepted to Tarleton State before I knew I would get the opportunity to run track there. One of my best friends is rooming with me so that is where I originally wanted to go. I decided to see if I could get on the track team and that is how things fell into place.”
Choosing the right university can be major decision for a student-athlete and Tarleton State had all the things McKissick was looking for.
“Stephenville is not a huge town and Tarleton State is not a huge school where you will not know the thousands of other kids going there,” he said.
“You will be in smaller class sizes with teachers that will teach you well. The smaller town felt a lot like I was at home. I don’t think I will want to come back all the time because it gives me a similar feel to Liberty Hill. The drive is a little over two hours so it is just far enough away.”
Once he is settled in school next semester and has his track spikes, he is looking forward to the opportunity to compete in familiar events.
“I believe they will have me in 400 meter dash, the 200 meter dash and also running one of their relays,” he said.
“With the time that I ran at state I would have placed 15th in their conference. I feel that the coaches like where I am, but will definitely get me better. I am coming in running close to a 48 second quarter and they will only help me improve once I get on campus.”
He is excited to be joining a successful program with a teamwork first attitude. He is also looking forward to the travel he’ll get to do.
“I want to go in and learn great teamwork,” he said.
“In college you have to work as a team. They say track is an individual sport, but having a good team will definitely help. I am excited to meet new people and travel to the track meets around Texas. I am also hoping to one day get the chance to go to Nationals. The experience of getting out there in the world is exciting to me.”
McKissick quit football to chase his dream of running track and it paid off tenfold for him. His advice to anyone struggling with a decision is to chase your dream and take the calculated risk.
“If I had to give my younger self some advice I would say go as hard as you can whenever you can,” he said.
“Anytime you get the opportunity to improve yourself then do it. Always focus on what you want to do. Think about it and sometimes it is best to take the risk. You have to go with your heart and follow the dream that you want to do. The work that you put in will give you the outcome that you want,” he said.
This season his goal was to make it to the state track meet and he accomplished it. He now has the mindset that as long as he can believe it, he can achieve it.
“My goals coming in to Tarleton State are to go to Nationals,” he said. “I know they took a group of great young athletes this season. With the training they will put me through I believe I would have a good chance. The workouts will be hard and definitely push me. It will all come down to mental focus, because I know my body can get there.”
After college McKissick hopes to get the opportunity to work with athletes in his future career. The younger athletes in his summer track program have inspired him to give back.
“I also hope to one day teach younger athletes that have a dream to become better and help them get there,” he said. “With my summer team we have kids that are barely two feet tall, but they are working with us. It hits me deep when I see such young athletes come out and hope one day they can be the best. I would love to be able to teach those kids that their dreams are attainable.”
Tarleton State University is a Division II school that competes in the Lonestar Conference. If McKissick continues to work as hard as he did this season he will continue to make a name for himself on the track.