Elkin cross country and track and field star Brandon Welborn signed his paperwork to attend Montreat College Wednesday.
The signing was attended by his parents, Eric and Sandy; his sister, Sophie; head track and field coach Scott Wood; head cross country and track and field distance coach Dan Merritt; Montreat cross country and track and field coach Justin Herbert; and Elkin Principal Joel Hoyle.
Welborn, of Traphill, said he was drawn to running at Montreat by “the experience of running at a higher level; meeting new teammates and friends.”
He said his parents “are really proud of me. They like the school. They’ve helped me in every way.”
Welborn gave up soccer and basketball during his sophomore year at Elkin.
“My friends wanted me to come out so I did,” Welborn said.”I stuck with it; one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I made a lot of friends, including my coach (Merritt).
“And it brought me to here.”
“I saw very quickly he could be a very good runner,” Merritt said. “And he quickly became a very good runner.”
Welborn was all-Mountain Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC) in cross country the last two years, and track and field the last three seasons. He helped the 2012 track and field team and the 2013 cross country team win the MVAC championship. It was the track and field team’s first conference championship in more than 20 years.
He was the individual MVAC champion in the 800 this past season; and an all-conference performer additionally on the 4x800-meter relay team in 2012 and 2013. He was All-Region and All-State in the 800 this season.
Welborn anchored the the conference champion 4x400-meter relay team his junior and senior years as well.
Welborn was also All-State in indoor track and field in the 1,000 meters.
“He’s a hard-working young man,” Merritt said. “He has a great work ethic. But he’s even a better person.
“He will be an asset as a runner, but even more so as an example for others.”
“They got a good program there,” Merritt said. “He’ll do well there.”
“It’s a great school,” Welborn said. “It’s small. I feel like I’ll do better at a small school.
“And it worked out better financially.”
Welborn said he will pursue an undergraduate degree in biology.
“I want to go into the medical field,” he said. “Some type of doctor.”
Welborn said he is looking forward to working with Herbert. “He knows what he is talking about,” Welborn said. “I like that he is young and runs with you.”
“The goal is to bring in the right kind of kids for Montreat,” Herbert said. “He’s fast, but being fast isn’t enough to be on the team at Montreat. He’s got a good work ethic and he’s a Christ-focused kid.
“His coaches have great things to say about him.”
Herbert said he was impressed from the start with Welborn. “He fits in well with what we are trying to do,” Herbert said. “His coaches rave about his character and who he is as a person.”
Herbert also likes the idea that Welborn just took up running in the spring of 2012. “He is set up to progress to the college level,” Herbert said. “He’s been trained well to do this. My assumption is he’ll be a national qualifier in cross country — and down the line, the 10,000 or the marathon.”
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or Twitter @elkinareasports.