ARDMORE — With all the uncertainty of the last few years behind him, Purcell senior Cole Swayze can just relax.
Swayze has the fastest time in the 100 meters among Class 4A sprinters this year, but he'll run the 200 and 400 meters at the state meet in Ardmore Friday and Saturday, with hopes of gold in both events.
Swayze has been one of the state's fastest sprinters the last three years, a gift he primarily had utilized on the football field.
He caught the eye of Oklahoma State and earned a scholarship offer as a sophomore.
People began to wonder if he would jump at the chance to attend the same school as his father.
When he tore his ACL as a junior, outsiders' questions about his future turned to doubts about his ability to regain the talent that drew college interest.
But he fought back and showed that he was still just as fast as before the injury. And with that, his football recruiting stayed on track, with interest from several big programs.
After a broken foot interrupted his senior season of football, he turned his focus to a potential opportunity at Harvard. But when that didn't work out, Swayze found himself knee-deep in uncertainty once again.
Now, Swayze has turned away from football all together, signing with Oklahoma Baptist's track program.
“I only got to run track one year,” Swayze said. “I had some success, and it's been good to me, so I thought I would give it a shot.
“Getting hurt had a little bit to do with my decision. I didn't want to put my body through the injuries. It's been a relief knowing where I'm going. I just have one thing to shoot for.”
Swayze's 100 time of 10.62 is among the best in the state, regardless of class, but he's focused on the 200 and 400 for state. He has run a 22.03 in the 200 and he's the only 3A runner to break 50 seconds in the 400, according to OHSTrack.com.
“I've been happy with my times, but I'm looking to get better,” he said. “If you're not getting better, you're getting worse.”
Football injuries kept Swayze out of track as a freshman and junior, so he's looking forward to the opportunity this weekend. As a sophomore, he admittedly battled some nerves and didn't reach his potential.
“That was a learning day,” he said with a laugh. “It definitely helps me know what to expect, to know how to deal with the nerves. This is a chance to redeem myself.”