DAMASCUS, Va. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Jordan Keith, a graduating senior cross country, track runner and basketball player at Holston High School.
Distance running is a majestic sport.
“Honestly I just like being out in nature and just being on different trails and the feel of the wind blowing in my face,” Holston High School graduating senior Jordan Keith said.
Jordan Keith picked a good region to fall in love with running.
“I have the Creeper Trail that I can run on for my flatter distances and then I have the Appalachian Trail and all these big hills and mountains that I can run on and that’s really where I can set myself apart,” Keith said.
Keith certainly did that at Holston High School, running in both cross country and outdoor track.
“I like cross country more because it’s like you can run out on trails more and like get to see different scenery but I like the track aspect of it because you get the speed part too,” Keith said.
In 2019, he became a state champion in both sports.
“Yeah it was a thrill I really enjoyed it cause I worked all year all summer and all through the fall and cross country knowing that all that hard work actually paid off it was a great feeling,” Keith said.
“He would just go out and race people you know he loved to run he loved to compete and he loved to race people and by the end of his junior year he’d go into each race with a strategy and a plan at the end of the day we knew he had the guts and that his finish would be the best part of his race,” former Holston head track coach and current Emory & Henry assistant track coach Nathan Magstadt said.
But his senior year was more than just running. Keith opted out of running in the indoor track season so he could play basketball for the Cavaliers.
“I felt like I was letting them down if I didn’t play cause I’d always been the point guard since sophomore year on varsity and I felt like I’d let them down,” Keith said.
“We knew what he brought to the table so it wasn’t just me wanting him there it was the whole team and so for him to give up that indoor season and come play basketball was really special,” Holston head boys basketball coach Jeff Austin said.
He also made sacrifices in both sports for his top priority: his faith, and church every Wednesday.
“He would only compete in about a third of our track meets because of his religious beliefs he wouldn’t compete on Wednesdays and so I’d say two thirds of our season was on Wednesdays,” Magstadt said.
“It hurt a lot having to miss all those meets that I could have gotten better but faith comes before anything and church and all that,” Keith said.
“Just the fact that he progressed as quickly as he did in such a short amount of time because he was only getting three to four races tops before we’d go to regional and state and would go out and compete at the highest level,” Magstadt said.
He has graduated from Holston and is headed to King University to continue his faith, and continue running.
“I’ll be running cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track and I’d really like to focus on cross country,” Keith said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.