SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County runner Kody Everett has signed a national letter of intent to attend Jacksonville University.
Everett will be joining a cross country program that finished ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference last year.
Everett said his signing has become more meaningful now that he knows he is on his way to being a NCAA Division I athlete.
“I never would have imagined me be able to go to a D1 school to run,” Everett said. “I didn’t really know they were D1 until my parents told me a few months later. It made me feel so happy and so achieved that I am able to run for a D1 college.
“That’s a great achievement, I think.”
Everett’s signing with the Dolphins is especially satisfying because he was also looking for a school that has his intended major — marine biology.
“They actually found me,” Everett said. “(Coach Jordan Garman) actually sent me a direct message on Instagram asking me if I had some time to talk to him on the phone. I looked into their school and saw they have a good program and the academics I wanted.
“We talked for about 30 minutes and then he offered me to take a visit of the school. I fell in love with the campus and I really liked him as a coach as well.”
Everett also entertained interest from Coastal Carolina and UNC-Wilmington. He held onto the offer from the Dolphins for the majority of the cross-country season before committing.
Pam Richards, head coach of the Effingham County cross country team praised Everett for his work ethic and his contribution to the team as a leader.
“He worked for it and he pushes himself and others, and I think that college is going to be lucky to have him,” Richards said. “I am super stoked for Kody and he deserves it. I am proud of him.
“This is a signing that was well earned. They are getting an all-around athlete.”
As his final semester of high school winds down, Everett said the feeling of running at the next level still feels surreal.
“It really hasn’t set in fully yet,” he said. “I’ve seen two of my future teammates sign but I haven’t met them in person. As I get further into my spring semester, (I keep thinking), wow, next semester I am going to be a college student-athlete. It’s a weird feeling but it hasn’t set in fully for me yet.”