April 18 marked the dawning of a new era for Tyler Hayden. The Greenbrier senior signed a cross country/track letter of intent with Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.
Greenbrier High School's Tyler Hayden signed a scholarship April 18 to run track for Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.
"When I signed, I felt like my running career was getting off the ground," Hayden said. "It felt pretty good, especially since I've been running for a relatively short period of time."
Hayden, who has his sights set on the two-mile record at the state competition this year, has been running competitively for almost three years.
A former gymnast, Hayden transferred from Aquinas his freshman year before friend Miguel Mota invited him to transfer to Greenbrier and run with the Wolfpack.
"I did gymnastics from the time I was 6 years old to the ninth grade and found out during that experience that I was a strong runner," Hayden said. "I like both cross country and track because they are two totally different settings. Cross country is cool because it's in the woods, but I like track better because it's more structured and personal and because you're next to your competition."
Hayden, who finished 14th at the state cross country meet, chose to sign with Gardner-Webb because of its distance running program. He also was looking into Troy (Ala.) University - where Mota signed - but found it catered more to the mid-distance runner.
Hayden said he is looking forward to running with the Bulldogs.
"Gardner-Webb is a good Division I school with a relatively new program," said Hayden, who was named to the All-Area cross country team after his junior and senior seasons. "It will be neat to see how I grow with the program."
He is equally optimistic when thinking about the differences between high school running and the challenges that await him in college.
"The competition will be at a totally different level," he said. "I think I will be successful there."
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