0

Westover's Lewis parlays 100-meter state title into D-I scholarship at Kennesaw St.

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Westover A.D. and longtime track coach Harley Calhoun isn't quite sure where Reginald Lewis came from.

But he's sure glad he arrived when he did.

Lewis, a Patriots football star who had never run track before this year, came out for the team his senior season -- and boy, did he ever make the most of it.

Lewis not only shocked the state by coming out of nowhere and winning the GHSA Class AAA title in the 100-meter dash with a blistering time of 10.67, but he scored 19 points all by himself, taking fourth in the 200 and fifth in the long jump to pace Westover to a second-place finish at state.

And Thursday, the fruits of his labor paid off in the former of a Division I track scholarship from Kennesaw State as Lewis became the first D-I track signee from WHS since 2003.

"I told coach I wanted to come out and do the jumping events and give those a try," Lewis recalled when asked how discovered his talent on the track. "But then we had to do time trials and I won them pretty easy, so coach was like, 'You're about to be our new runner.' "

Lewis celebrated the moment of securing his college future in one of the more unique signing ceremonies the area has ever seen. Rather than hold the scholarship signing at the school, in a gym or library and during school hours, Lewis' family made a party out of the occasion. They hosted a BBQ -- complete with homemade grape slushies -- on Thursday at his home, which was attended by numerous classmates, teammates and a host of family and friends.

"We're real proud of him and all he did here in just a year," Calhoun said. "He truly is that kid who's a diamond in the rough."

Calhoun added that after the very first meet of the season, he knew Lewis just how special Lewis was.

"He won the 100 going away in Tifton and it really turned everyone's heads," he said. "After that, he (regressed) a bit because he was still learning and we were changing (his technique) some to make him even faster. And when he finally figured everything out -- which wasn't long -- he got even faster."

Lewis said he can't want to join the Owls, who are competing in the NCAA nationals this week after winning the Atlantic Sun title.

He will, however, miss football.

"I am going to miss it because I played it so long, but they'll be getting a football program my senior year," Lewis said with a wide smile. "So we'll see what happens."

Lewis' father Dexter, a former star athlete at Monroe who went on to box professionally for 10 years, said he couldn't have been any prouder seeing his son sign on the dotted line Thursday.

"He's worked hard and he deserves this. Football's in his blood, but he looks great running out there on the track," Dexter said. "We're all really proud oh him."