PHS's Pearson Signs With UNCP
Pinecrest runner Will Pearson is the kind of an athlete college recruiters like to describe as having a big upside.
Last week the Patriot senior signed a national letter of intent to continue his cross country and track career at UNC Pembroke. His parents Vance and Christy Pearson, grandfather, Gene Wilson, coaches and teammates were among those marking the occasion at the high school.
“He’s got a lot of upside potential because he hasn’t been running for as many years as a lot of people we have,” Patriot boys cross country and track coach Jeremy Swofford says. “He moved here before his junior year and surprised everybody. For a guy who was only with us for two years, he put up some impressive times.
“The UNC Pembroke team is going to like him a lot.”
Pearson came to Pinecrest from Scotland High School. He was a bit skeptical at first about making an impact at a school with such strong cross country and track programs. But he quickly produced results that showed he belonged.
In cross country, he was the runner-up to teammate Chris Kelly in the last two Southeastern Conference Championship meets. In track, he came in third in the 1,600-meter run and sixth in the 800-meter run at last season’s conference track and field championships.
Pearson has also earned 10th-place finishes at the regional level twice in cross country and once in the 1,600.
Jeff Moody, who set Pinecrest records in cross country and the 1,600 in 1974, was an assistant coach at UNC Pembroke before joining the Pinecrest staff this year. According to Pearson, Moody helped put his accomplishments on the college’s radar.
“I liked the size of the school; it was small,” Pearson says. “The times the guys run I can mingle with and come right in and run with them. The coaches seem like really nice people, and I’ve already gained a close relationship with them and the team.”
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