Growing up, Amber Elkins always wanted to run track in the Big XII Conference. Always.
A funny thing happened on the way to super conference, however. When it came time to choose from a group of suitors that included Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor and a handful of out-of-state Division I programs, the two-time defending Class A state hurdles champion decided nothing could match her desire to be closer to family – and signed a collegiate letter of intent to run track next season with Texas State University in San Marcos.
"I'm excited about going," said Elkins, the 17-year-old daughter of Jim and Kim Elkins of Gordon. "I always wanted to run in the Big XII, and I went to Tech and A&M on visits, but my sisters live close to Texas State. That was the one thing that helped me decide to go there, besides I will still be able to compete against all the Big XII athletes."
By signing with the Division I program, Elkins becomes the first Gordon High School student to earn a scholarship with a major college program since Lyle Campbell in 2000. Campbell, the 1999 Texas Six-Man Coaches Association's 1999 Player of the Year, signed to play football at Dartmouth University.
Elkins has been dominant on the track and field scene since arriving on the high school scene. Last season, she set the unofficial Class A record in the 100-meter hurdles by legging out a time of 14.19 seconds. The time is an unofficial time because UIL officials ruled her run was wind-aided.
As a freshman, she finished third in the Class A state track meet in the 100-meter hurdles, and fourth in the 300-meter hurdles. As a sophomore, she moved a step closer to a state crown by placing second in the 100, and third in the 300.
Last season, she won the 100- and 300-meter crowns in impressive fashion. She won the 100-meter title by more than half a second, and won the 300-meter honors by more than 10 yards.
Gordon coach Rob Proctor said Elkins has the potential to improve even more and become one of the top hurdlers in the nation.
"I'm excited to see what she can do when she gets there," he said. "I don't think she has even scratched the surface of what she can do."
Index sports editor Tommy Wells can be contacted at (940) 325-4465, ext. 3424, or firstname.lastname@example.org.