By CLINT FOSTER
When Emmanuel Dashawn Hicks Jr. first set foot on a track at 5 years old, odds are he had no idea where it would take him.
Sure, he had the pedigree of a world-class runner. His father Emmanuel Hicks Sr. still holds the Mineral Wells High School record for the 400 meters and represented the Rams twice at state before taking his talents to Ranger Junior College.
"He was probably the best quarter-miler that I've coached in 40 years," Mineral Wells' Hall of Fame head track coach Jackie Harvey said of Emmanuel Sr. "He was a stud. So, it's good genes there."
Now years later, Emmanuel's son – known as Dashawn by his friends – is building a legacy of his own.
"He's come a long way," Harvey said.
In his senior season, Hicks has battled back from a devastating knee injury, that ended his basketball season in December, and has now earned himself his fourth consecutive trip to the UIL State Track and Field Meet for the 100-meter dash.
It's the same event that he will be running at the University of Texas in Arlington next year, where his athletic talent has earned him a coveted full-ride scholarship.
"It feels great," Hicks said. "It's truly a blessing to be able to be back [from injury]. I'm just ready for it all to happen. I've been working all my life and now, finally, it's all here."
UTA reached out to Hicks through Harvey some time ago, so Hicks said there has been little doubt he would be a Maverick, especially with a full scholarship in play.
The longest road this season has been his recovery from injury so that he could even be in a position to compete in his trademark sport.