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  • The Robesonian

    Fairmont’s Leach, Oxendine sign with Mount Olive track

    By Chris Stiles The Robesonian,

    20 days ago
    Fairmont’s Travelius Leach, center left, and Emanuel Oxendine, center right, sign to run track collegiately at Mount Olive during a ceremony Friday in Fairmont. They are pictured with Leach’s grandmother Jacqueline Leach, left, and Oxendine’s mother Dhani Oxendine, right. Chris Stiles | The Robesonian

    FAIRMONT — Neither Travelius Leach nor Emanuel Oxendine began running track until their junior year at Fairmont.

    They’ve now both turned the sport into a collegiate career.

    Leach and Oxendine each signed to Mount Olive on Friday, as the pair will continue to be teammates with the Trojans.

    “It’s good, because I grew up with (Oxendine) since elementary (school), that’s a long, long time,” Leach said. “I thought it was going to be football, because that’s what I grew up playing. I didn’t know what track was until my ninth grade year, and I started running last year (as a junior).”

    “It kind of brings me comfort; I’ve got somebody I know when I’m going over there, and someone to help out along the way,” Oxendine said. “I took a visit over there, and I think the program is really nice, the facility, the school overall, and the education over there.”

    Both played football at Fairmont, and through high school thought that sport might be their best chance at a next-level opportunity. But the discovery of track proved to be life-changing for both.

    “I’ve been dreaming ever since I was a kid of going to the next level. I like competitiveness,” Oxendine said. ““I tried it out in 11th grade, and coach made me fall in love with it, and I took it a long way.”

    The Mount Olive program competes at the NCAA Division-II level as a member of Conference Carolinas, the same conference in which UNC Pembroke competes.

    Leach finished third in the 400 meters at last week’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A state championships, running the race in 48.94 seconds. He also qualified for states in the 100 meters, but did not run the event due to injury.

    “They’re getting an athlete that’s still learning, an athlete that has strong willpower, an athlete that’s going to bring immediate contributions to the school,” Fairmont coach Edward Squires said. “He’s going to be one of the fastest on the team going into next year and he should do very well points wise and help them go to championship.”

    Oxendine also competed at states last week, finishing 11th in the 300-meter hurdles in 42.49 and 16th in the 110-meter hurdles at 17.53.

    “They’re getting someone that’s a hard worker, someone that’s still learning the hurdles, but he wants to learn, he’s able to learn,” Squires said. “And I believe he’s going to be multi-faceted, do (multiple) events for them, hurdles, I can see him in the 4x(100), 200 (meters), some of the relays, he’s very versatile.”

    Leach also had an offer from UNCP. Oxendine had a track offer from Guilford, along with a football offer from Greensboro and other interest for football.

    In addition to joining the Trojans program together, there will also be other familiar faces there. Jacoby Pevia, a Lumberton track athlete who often trains with Leach and Oxendine, is scheduled to sign to the school next week; there are also three recent Fairmont alumni on the Mount Olive women’s track team in Kiara Campbell, Brianna Davis and Jamesha Howell.

    “If they’re lonely or homesick, you’ve got somebody; they’ve known each other since kindergarten, so they’re going together,” Squires said. “Also, it’s a big plus that they’re going to Mount Olive with three ladies that were here the last three years, so it’s like a big family again, almost a reunion.”

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