In its first year of having an official collegiate track program, Augusta State University had a runner qualify for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.
Next year they’ll have a four-time state high school champion in the fold after Augusta Christian’s Grant Newman signed his letter of intent Thursday to become a Jaguar.
“I’m real excited for him being able to run at Augusta State, a brand new program,” said Lions track coach Charles Cooper. “I think he’s going to be a very strong piece of that foundation.”
As a junior in 2012, Newman won South Carolina Independent School Association titles in the 400 meter hurdles and the long jump. He repeated in the 400 hurdles in 2013, adding the triple jump crown to his resume and finished second in the long jump.
Newman and the Jaguars coaching staff kept in touch during the Lions’ track season, and after Newman toured the campus his mind was set.
“It’s a very nice college,” said Newman. “Now that they’re getting a brand-new facility, a multiple-story complex kind of helped close the deal.”
Even as a four-time state champion, Newman’s potential appears yet to be fully realized, factoring in that the Lions train on the school’s football field and not a track.
“I think I’ll improve a lot being able to use a track every day and have a specific event I’ll be working at rather than one day on this, one day on this,” said Newman, who plans to study business management. “I think I’ll be focusing on jumps more and maybe hurdles. I think jumps will be the main point.”
Being close to home will help smooth his transition into the college setting.
“I think it will be good,” Newman said. “It won’t be really a drastic change, so I won’t be flustered with everything changing.”