Tennessee Temple University is diving head-first into the world of college track and field, and Jimmy Stallion is set to become a part of it.
The LaFayette High School senior recently signed paperwork to join the Crusaders' new outdoor varsity program.
"I think it will be good for me to try something new and try track at a higher level," he said. "I know it will take work, but it's going to be a good experience working with new coaches and new teammates in a new atmosphere."
Stallion is a four-year member of the Ramblers' track team, specializing in the 400-meter run. He placed third in the 6-AAA subregion meet as a freshman, and was fifth in the Region 7-AAA meet as a sophomore, when he recorded a personal-best time of 52.89 seconds. He was third in the event at the LFO Invitational a year ago and says he has high goals in mind for his senior season.
"I want to try to improve on my times from last season and hopefully qualify and place high at state," he added.
"One of the things I like about Jimmy is that he's very enthusiastic about what he does," said Tennessee Temple coach Emmanuel Awotula. "I saw some of the times he ran last year and they looked good. I think he has a lot of potential and it's good to be able to bring in a local kid like him."
Stallion said he first heard about Temple's new program while doing research on NCSA's sports recruiting website.
"I wrote to Tennessee Temple, and one of the coaches gave me a call and I gave him my times," he explained. "They set up a visit for me. I liked the campus and my new teammates. I decided it was where I wanted to be."
Awotula says Stallion will mainly compete in the 400 and 800-meter runs for the Crusaders.
LaFayette boys' track coach Tommy Swanson says Stallion has a lot of upside.
"He was one of the better 400-meter runners in the region last year, and if he goes to work and keeps improving, he's got a chance to go to state and see how he does against the best down there," said the coach. "He's very versatile. He can run the middle distances, but he can also drop down and run the sprints if they need him to. I think it will be a good opportunity for him with a new program, but it's also close to home. I just want to wish him luck. I think he'll do well there."
Awotula has high hopes for the Crusaders' new program, which will compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) beginning this March.
"We're trying to bring in local kids that will help us build up the program and be successful early," he added. "We have athletes (at Temple) that play other sports and they have been asking for us to start a track program. I'm excited about it and I'll be surprised if we don't do very well in our first year."
Stallion said he hopes to major in Sports Management and minor in Psychology