Willington Wright ended
his high school career at Middle Tennessee State University's Dean Hayes
Stadium, the same track that he will call home for the next four years in college.
If the Hardin Valley Academy senior can deliver the same types of performances that he did there on Thursday, he'll fit right with his new track family.
Wright reached the podium four times at the TSSAA Large Schools Track and Field Championship, which included a victory in the 400 meters in a time of 47.77. He also finished second in the triple jump (46-feet 9 ¼), sixth in the 200 (21.93), and ran the anchor leg on the championship 4x400 relay team that nearly broke the state record with a time of 3:19.
"My strategy in the 400 was just run until I die," Wright said as he leaned against the scoreboard trying to catch his breath. "I've tried strategies and they never really help me with anything. I think I set a PR tonight, so I might just do that from now on, run until my legs go dead."
Wright runs for Hardin Valley, but he has been home-schooled his entire life. He said that track has not only introduced him to new friends, but it has helped fight the stereotype that many of his friends had of home-schooled students.
"I've never been socially awkward at all," said Wright. "So many of my friends thought home-school students were shy and didn't know how to interact with people. Most of them didn't believe me when I told them I wasn't graduating with them. They just saw me as one of them."
Wright's teammates credit him for pushing them to become better athletes.
"Training with him is awesome because he has such a great attitude towards it," said junior Miguel Parrilla.
"He's a great teammate," added sophomore Kelton Gunn. "Sometimes it's tough training with him because he always pushes us to work harder, but it makes us better."
Wright, who has only run track for two seasons, trained in the offseason last year, but said he is going to take a break before starting at MTSU in late July or August.
"I want to do a little running this summer," Wright said. "But honestly my legs just need to rest. I've run four events almost every meet, so I'll be glad to just be able to sit down a little bit."
That will be one break that is well-deserved.