Stacey Whitt was just weeks away from moving to Brenham to start classes at Blinn Junior College when he had a sudden change of plans.
“I was recruited by Blinn and the coach took the job at Texas A&I,” Whitt recalled. “I was two weeks away from starting my freshman year when he offered me a chance to run at a 4-year school instead of a JUCO.”
The benefits of that change of course continue for the Alvord graduate. This fall, Whitt will join the fellow members of the 1986 Texas A&I men’s and women’s cross country teams for induction into the Javelina Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held Sept. 5 on what is now the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus.
“It’s a big honor,” Whitt said. “We won a couple of league championships in 1984-86.
“We’re a big family. We are already making plans for the weekend to gather at one of the runner’s homes and we’ll stretch our times.”
Whitt won the 1983 Class A title in the 3200, running a record time of 9:41.9. The mark stood until 1987.
After graduating Alvord, he arrived in Kingsville to compete in cross country and track. He found himself running against some of the best athletes in the world.
“The NCAA had passed a rule for Division I schools that wouldn’t allow kids over a certain age come in,” Whitt said. “Because of that we had world-class runners running in our Division II. Our 1986 team at Texas A&I went up against the best teams with international runners.”
But that did not deter Whitt and his Texas A&I teammates. The group of talented runners upset national powerhouse Abilene Christian in 1984.
ACU recaptured the league crown in 1985.
The following year, Whitt and the Javelinas took down ACU by a point, 32-33, to capture the conference title.
“Although we didn’t have the international runners, we were able to take the bigger prize and the conference title,” Whitt said. “It took a team to accomplish that.”
The A&I squad followed that up with a regional title, scoring 51 points to ACU’s 74.
The Javelinas and Whitt closed the season by finishing 12th at the NCAA Division II meet.
“We ran in California aand in the altitude, we were toast,” Whitt recalled.
Individually, Whitt was an All-Lone Star Conference performer on the track and in cross country during his time at Texas A&I. He turned in a personal-best 10K of 32:14, 5K of 15:06 and 1500 of 3:56.