By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (March 9, 2016) — Tuscarora High School senior Jason Holder has made a commitment to run track at Christopher Newport University starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“It feels so great to know where I am going to spend my next four years, and now, I can enjoy my last three months at Tuscarora,” the 5-foot-11 Holder said. “I am humbled by the opportunity that coach Wingard and CNU has given me.”
Holder chose CNU partly because the first time he stepped foot on campus Newport News felt like it could be his new home.
“CNU offers a wonderful college environment where I can get a great education,” Holder said. “Plus, coach Wingard and staff have an outstanding track program that will allow me to compete at a high level. When I first came down to the CNU campus last year, coach Wingard and the team welcomed me with open arms and were treating me like I was already a CNU Captain.”
After finishing his senior year at Tuscarora, Holder will officially become a CNU Captain in the fall of 2016. Led by head coach Tyler Wingard, the Division III Captains will send seven student-athletes to the NCAA DIII Indoor Championships in Iowa on March 11 and 12.
At CNU, Holder will join five LoCo grads in the track and field program: John Champe graduate Richard Addi (2015), Broad Run graduate Dane Boegner (2014), Stone Bridge graduate Molly McCabe (2015), Freedom graduate Hannah McClure (2015) and Tuscarora graduate Jordan Roach (2014).
“Running track the last three years and running one year of cross country will allow me to come into CNU well prepared to, hopefully, make an impact right away,” Holder said. “Running the 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay has taught me not only to work as an individual but as a team player.”
Track and field helped Holder solidify his understanding of team sports, but his initial start in athletics came when he was six-years-old playing baseball and football.
“Even though I was fast, I really did not think much about running track. My first taste of track came when I started working out with coach Nick Savage when I was about twelve-years-old to help me not only get faster, but to learn to become a better wide receiver,” Holder said. “When I got to high school Greg Fenner — the Tuscarora defensive back coach — approached me during football season my sophomore year and asked if I would be interested in running track in the spring. Over the winter I started thinking about playing football at the next level and felt baseball was not going to help me and running track would make me faster, so that spring I started running and never looked back.”
In deciding to run track for the Huskies, Holder teamed up with Tuscarora head coach Troy Harry who served as a role model for Holder over the past three years.
“Coach Troy Harry has been like a big brother to me the last three years,” Holder said. “I thought track was just ‘go out there and run as fast as you can’, but coach Harry has taught me that you not only need to get faster, you need to learn the correct running techniques and the strategy to run different races.”
A sprinter, Holder helped the Huskies to a number of accolades as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team last spring including a first place finish in Conference 14, a fourth place finish in the VHSL 5A North region and an eighth place finish at the VHSL 5A state championship.
“My expectations for myself and the team are to win the conference, region and state. The last two years the 4×400-meter relay has qualified for all three,” Holder said. “This season the 4×400-meter relay team has three returning senior runners: Elijah Moore, Jonathan Roebuck and myself. I hope that equates to some fast times and lots of wins.”