Sean Gorman / The Duncan Banner
The Duncan Banner
When Duncan senior Derek McKnight joined the track and field team his freshman year, he had never before played a sport in his life.
Four years later, that decision is still paying off.
McKnight was joined by fellow students, coaches and family before signing his letter of intent to compete in shotput and hammer at Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas.
“In a way I see it as being excited to start my track career,” McKnight said. “I’ve never had the chance to compete in track for a full year and I think I am going to get a lot better going forward.”
For McKnight, knowing many students from Duncan end up attending Cowley played a part in his decision.
The bigger motivation, McKnight said, was the program at Cowley, including a coach with championship pedigree.
McKnight will work with Tigers assistant coach Courtney Gougler, a two-time national champion as the indoor shot put and outdoor discus. Gougler saw the same level of success as a coach, coaching Oklahoma’s own Charles James to a national title in the outdoor shot put in 2011.
duncan kids, coach, Charles James national champion
McKnight will be attending the school on a full ride scholarship.
Also starring as an All-State defensive lineman for the Demons football team, McKnight achieved the ultimate goal last season at state, winning the championship in shot put.
Duncan throwing coach Tim Buben, who coached McKnight for four years, said it was the senior’s work ethic that allowed him to persevere through early growing pains.
“There was a lot of learning that had to be done, but he’s one of those kids where it frustrates him to not be good at something,” Buben said. “To see someone grow and improve like that and to see the success come to fruition, it’s amazing.”