Photo: Westbrook Christian senior Mitchell Cook signed a track scholarship with the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Pictured with Mitchell are his dad Dan and mom Shelly. (Mike Goodson/Messenger)
By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
On May 13, Westbrook Christian senior Mitchell Cook signed a scholarship to run distance track and cross country for the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
The Warriors’ standout distance runner also was recruited by the University of Montevallo, the University of North Alabama and Wallace State-Hanceville.
“UAH was my top pick,” said Cook. “The recruiting process included a lot of e-mails from UAH [track and field head] coach [David] Cain and myself. I was told if I could get my time down in the 800-meters, the scholarship was mine. I got my time down to two minutes and [UAH] offered the scholarship.”
Cook had a fine showing at the Class 2A state track and field meet in Cullman earlier this month. He finished runner-up in the boys 800-meter run, clocking in at 1:58.15. Cook’s time, along with Altamont’s James Dixon’s winning time of 1:57.98, broke the state record of 1:58.31 set by Falkville’s Shane Edge in 2007. In addition, Cook took third place in the 1600 with a time of 4:41.36. Cook was also a member of the Warriors’ third-place 4×800-meter relay team along with Jonah Morris, Jackson Martin and Joseph James as well as the third-place 4×400 relay team
along with James, Ryan Scott and Hunter Grimes.
This past fall, Cook helped Westbrook to a third-place finish at the Class 1A/2A state cross country meet. Cook and Jonah Morris finished a close second and third place with respective all-state times of 16:38.11 and 16:42.30. Cook as an all-state cross country selection his sophomore and junior seasons and qualified for the state meet his freshman year.
As a junior at the state track meet, Cook finished second in the 800-meter run and was a member of the Warriors’ bronze-medal 1600 and 3200-meter relay teams. He also qualified for state as a member of Westbrook’s 4×800-meter relay team. As a sophomore, Cook tool third place in the 800-meter run and was a state qualifier in the 1600 and 4×800-meter relay.
“I first worked with Mitchell during his freshman year of track,” said Westbrook cross country and track and field coach Brian Curp. “It was obvious he had some natural ability. I worked with him full-time his junior and senior years in both cross country and track. Mitchell has grown as a runner and leader throughout the years. He leads by example. He’s a gamer. He shows up biggest in the biggest races.
“This year at state it would have been easy for Mitchell to not race the 4×400 relay after running a new PR in the 800 and being pretty spent physically. But he wanted to give it his best to try and give his teammates the best shot at getting all-state. He came back and ran a new PR split of 51 in the 400 and anchored the relay team to a third-place finish. That’s the kind of teammate he has become.
“I think Mitchell has a lot of potential and will benefit to have a bigger group to train with. He benefited from training with Jonah Morris this year, and I see that same benefit continuing in his college career. I’m very excited to see him continue to grow and improve as a runner and young man at UAH.”
Messenger Publisher/Editor Chris McCarthy contributed to this article