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Cummins gets his wish to run in the South

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By Matt Birkholtz

Jordan Cummins got his dream to come true, signing a national letter of intent with Jacksonville State University (Ala.) March 1.

“I like running in warmer climates,” he said. “Jacksonville State is on the Gulf Coast and travel in warmer areas so I felt it was a great fit for me.”

JSU is a Division I school and for Cummins that was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I fit into the program really well,” he said. “On the plus side, my aunt only lives an hour from campus.”

Cummins, who finished his senior year on a strong note with a 13th place finish at the state cross-country meet Nov. 13, said he had an “uncountable” amount of offers from schools to run for them.

“It was a cool experience to have,” he said. “If anybody has a chance at this experience, they should do it, because it is a lot of fun.”

With his choice of JSU, Cummins said it is a “weight off his shoulders” now that he has picked his school.

“I thank God for helping me with the decision and helping my parents and coaches for making me better,” he said. “It has gone better than I thought it would.”

As Cummins finishes up his senior year at Grant County High School and plays baseball, he said he will get ready for the JSU Gamecocks cross-country season by also running track this season.

Not only was Cummins and his family excited for him, his high school coach Marlon Kinsey was happy to see his senior sign with the program.

“It is exciting to see one of your runners, especially one who has been with you since his elementary days with our youth series program to sign with his college letter of intent,” Kinsey said. “Seeing him mature from that stage through the middle school ranks and then capping his senior year with a tremendous finish and being on that podium, and then completing here with the signing. For a lot of kids the podium is the end of the chapter, but he is going to continue his cross-country career at a Division I program.”

Kinsey said that the program Cummins is going into is a great fit and he is going to certainly run better in the warmer temperatures.

“Running in the warmer climate is always something Jordan always like warm over cold,” he said.

Kinsey said he hopes that Cummins will be the first of many of his runners to continue the trend of going to Division I after seeing Natalie Norman and Jeffrey Covington sign to run for Morehead State in 2009.

“We want all of our runners to have this opportunity to run at the Division I level,” he said. “But at the same time we want our runners to succeed at any level they go to.”

“We are starting to see almost every year now our runners going to college and continuing their career at the college level, which is just fantastic,” he said. “Hopefully, these athletes will come back and be future coaches at Grant County. That was the path that I tried to take and I am excited for Jordan.”