Back in August, Tatum junior, D.J. Horton, suffered a debilitating neck injury, while making a tackle just before football season officially kicked off.
Now, in May, he and the Eagles track team are preparing for a state championship.
“It means everything, I worked hard to get here, I’ve done my best and it’s really paying off,” said Horton.
He is part of the Eagles’ 1600-meter relay, which finished second at the Regional Meet in Whitehouse.
Dakarai Bush, who anchors the relay, says Horton’s return has made a huge impact on this group, and for him personally.
“It meant a lot to me, I mean, I love him so much,” said Bush. “We’ve been friends since middle school, so yeah, that meant a lot.”
“Their support means everything, that’s what has pushed me to get this far and do as good as I’ve been doing,” said Horton.
J.B. Haggerty has been coaching track at Tatum since 1989, and says, what Horton has overcome will benefit him long after he’s done running in high school.
“It gave him an opportunity to grow and to be a better individual,” said Haggerty. “He’s worked hard and he’s earned his ticket to the State Meet this year.”
As the eagles put in the final touches before they make their way to the state capital, Horton, along with the rest of this team, looks to carry on the legacy of excellence, that’s already been established in Tatum.
“It means everything for this school, this district, this community, we’re just keeping the tradition alive, and will hopefully get a state champion ring,” said Horton.
Because for D.J. why just start walking again, when you can run?
The UIL State Track and Field Meet will get started at Mike Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus in Austin on Friday May 10.
The Tatum boys are qualified in three events. The Tatum Lady Eagles will compete in seven.