Patriots ink Low Country runners

Patriots ink Low Country runners

Francis Marion University men's cross country and track and field coach Mark Bluman has announced the signing of a trio of runners – Parker Calvert of North Charleston (pictured right), Christian England of Ladson, and Wyatt Witman of Goose Creek – to national letters of intent during the recent signing period.

Calvert and Witman are both products of Stratford High School, where they ran under the direction of coach Shane Sutherland. England is a graduate of Fort Dorchester High School, where he ran for coaches Thane Williams and Avery Coe.

Calvert (6'3") earned All-Region honors this past fall and placed 14th at the 2017 AAAAA lower state championship cross country meet with a personal-best time for 5,000-meters of 17:05.3.  He went on to place 70th at the AAAAA state championship meet in Columbia with a time of 17:27.  He participated in the 2017 Shrine Bowl Run, earned his school's Pace-Setter Award for 2017, and garnered the Coach's Award in 2015.

During the 2018 track season, he posted personal-best times of 2:07.47 in the 800-meters and 4:48.20 in the 1,600-meters. He ran a personal-best 10:14.68 in the 3,200-meters at the 7-AAAAA meet this past spring.

Witman (6'3") also earned All-Region accolades last fall, owns a personal-best time of 17:21 for 5,000-meters, and placed 128th at the state championships with a time of 18:22.

In track, he owns personal-best times of 4:56 for 1,600-meters and 10:44 for 3,200-meters.

England (6'2") ran 17:45.8 at the 2017 AAAAA lower state meet and then persevered through an injury to place 142nd at the state championships with a time of 19:10. His personal-best time for 5,000-meters is 17:40.  He was his team's Rookie of the Year in 2015.

In track this past spring, he ran 11:01.28 in the 3,200-meters at the 7-AAAAA meet.

Fort Dorchester finished 11th in the team standings at the 2017 AAAAA cross country state championships last fall, while Stratford placed 13th.

"These three student-athletes all come from strong programs with quality coaches, and know what it takes to help a program," Bluman said.  "They also recognize they can come in and make an impact immediately.  They have solid high school running foundations that we can build on, and still have a lot of wear left on the tires to improve at FMU."

Francis Marion lost three seniors off last season's cross country squad that finished seventh at the Peach Belt Conference Championships and 20th at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championships.