EHS cross county runner receives statewide award

Published 1:56 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

An EHS cross country runner’s dedication on the track and in the classroom has received statewide attention.

Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America, awarded senior Gabe Bennett, who also competes in track, the Wendy’s Heismen Award for the state of Tennessee.

Winners were judge based on their academic achievements, athletic achievements, and involvement in the community, the Wendy’s High School Heismen website said.

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The cross county runner is honored to have receive the award.

“It shows how much I have progressed,” he said. “And it shows that I give 100 percent in the classroom and in athletics.”

EHS track coach Aaron Wood has coached Bennett over past three years, and he has noticed Bennett’s give it all attitude.

“I mean Gabe is one of the hardest working kids we have had at the high school,” Wood said. “You know he was middle, back of the pack, and then through hard work and dedication he brought himself up. He ran varsity for majority of the meets this year. I mean, his times have dropped down tremendously.”

Not only is Bennett, who boasts a 4.0 GPA, a hard worker out in the field, he also strives to do his best in the classroom as well, Wood said.

“He has an outstanding GPA in class,” Wood said. “He is one of the most well behave and well respected kids in the school. He will work hard and, some days, he even challenges his teachers.”

Bennet’s award is a big accomplishment for him, but it also means a lot to the track and cross county programs at EHS, Wood said.

“It is awesome for us,” coach Wood said. “When you have big notable sports, like football and basketball and baseball, cross country kind of gets undermined a little bit. . . It speaks a lot about Gabe and where the sport of running, especially in Northeast Tennessee, has gone.”

Through out his career in running Bennett has been a contributor, Wood said.

“We won conference in track last year and he contributed to that,”  Wood said. “He helped us get second place in conference this year. He is just one of those kids where you can put him anywhere and he will try his hardest and get you everything he can to get you what you want.”

Competing in sporting events, while keeping his grades up is not the easiest of task, Bennett said.

“Time management, I have to plan everything out in advanced” he said. “It takes a lot of focus.”

And with the achievement comes the attention of some media outlets, which is something Bennett is not accustom to.

“I just keep my head down and work hard,” he said. “That is how I won the award.”

With his state level award, Bennett is now in the running to be one of 12 national finalist.