Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches didn't have to look far to recruit one of the state's top hurdlers for its track program.
Crockett senior Jordan Washington signed a national letter of intent with SFA for an athletic track scholarship on Friday, April 17 during a ceremony at CHS.
"SFA has had good winning tradition the past 10 years and just won the Southland Conference Indoor Track Championship. They have great coaches, and it's a program I'd like to be a part of," said Washington, who also considered offers from UT Arlington, Louisiana-Monroe and Sam Houston State.
"SFA is where my heart is and they showed the most interest. They were the first to come out and see me practice last summer. When I met with two of their coaches, we just clicked and formed a bond. It felt right," said Washington, who plans to major in kinesiology with a minor in business.
The Bulldog trackster has already tasted the high level of competition he'll be facing in collegiate track. In addition to UIL high school track, he competes in summer track and USA Track and Field.
"I've run against athletes from all over Texas, not only in my division, but 5A and 6A divisions," he said.
Earlier this year he competed in the 60-meter hurdles at the Texas A&M Indoor Meet and the Carl Lewis Invitational at the University of Houston, where he placed third and fourth, respectively, in a field that included the higher classification schools.
"I'll see a lot of those same guys in college track. I already know there's going to be guys better than me when I get to college, so I'm just going to have to work harder, catch up to everybody else, and eventually surpass everybody else so I can be where I want to be," said Washington.
According to Dyestat.com, he holds the sixth-best time in Texas and 22nd-best in the nation.
Competing at district last week, Washington notched first place wins in both the 300- and 110-meter hurdles, and anchored the 4x400 relay team that finished first.
Washington will next compete in the Class 3A Region III meet on May 1-2 at Baylor University, where he hopes to earn a trip to Austin and cap his high school career with a state championship.
"Right now I'm focused on qualifying for state and winning that. Then I'll start working on getting some indoor and outdoor championships at SFA."
Before starting college, the CHS hurdler will turn his attention to winning the Summer Track Nationals, for which he has already qualified.
"My ultimate goal is qualifying for the Olympics one day," he said, "but if that doesn't work out then I'd like to coach track on the high school or college level, and it'd be nice to do that at SFA."
CHS track coach Edward Arledge said, "He's the best hurdler I've coached, no doubt about it. He did a great job at district and qualified for regional in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Hopefully, if things go as expected, he'll be running in Austin in a couple of weeks."
"He's fun to watch running the 4x100 relay as our anchor. There's been several times where we were in the third or fourth position by the time he got the stick, and he brought us up to first place. It's definitely exciting to watch him run," the coach said.
Although Arledge just joined the CHS coaching staff this school year, he was already aware of Washington's athletic prowess.
"I was very fortunate to walk into a situation and inherit such a great athlete with a great work ethic," said Arledge, who came to Crockett from Livingston. "I saw him compete when Crockett came to the Livingston meet last year. He's definitely been a joy to work with. I hate to lose him, but he's going on to bigger and better things at SFA, and he's going to be very successful."
Arledge added, "SFA has a great track program, so it's a great opportunity for him to further his education and further his athletic career."