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Men's Outdoor Track - Wed, Jul. 3, 2013

Four track athletes from Georgia signed scholarships Monday to continue their careers at Tennessee Temple University: 6-foot-5 400-meter runner Cedric Nicholson from Powder Springs and McEachern High, sprinter Jovan Jones from Stone Mountain and Shiloh High, hurdler Rick Barry from Hardaway High in Columbus and 1600 and 3200 specialist Nigel Dixon from Jordan High in Columbus. The 6-2 Dixon also will run cross country, according to TTU track coach Emmanuel Awotula. Dixon was the Region 5-AA runner-up in both his track distances and finished seventh in the state in the 3200 and ninth in the 1600. He said Temple "made me feel like home, and it will help me see better how God works and the Christian way." Barry also was a region runner-up (1-AAAAA) in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, and he said that in addition to liking Temple's cozy campus, he found Awotula "very heart-warming, and he's starting a program from scratch and I wanted to help him with it." Nicholson, who talked also with Birmingham-Southern and Hampton, was on the 4x400 relay team that had the best time in Georgia and finished fourth in the Class AAAAAA state. He plans also to run the 200 and perhaps try out for the basketball Crusaders. He and Jones echoed Barry's remarks about the attraction of helping a building program, and Nicholson also liked the chance for one-on-one faculty connections. Shiloh finished fifth in the AAAAAA boys' state, and Jones was part of a strong sprint unit there. He has run a 10.9-second 100 and a 22.0 200 and also considered Alabama State and Morgan State. "I liked the fact that Temple was a Christian college," he said. Said Awotula: "These guys have great running times without me teaching them anything, and they're good kids. It's hard for me to tell some track kids what Tennessee Temple is all about, but these kids understand the Christian aspect and they understand that I expect them to be here for four years and help us grow. They're a good group and very athletic." Temple had two women qualify for the National Christian College national meet in the program's debut this past spring, and Awotula said that these and previous recruits for 2013-14 will quickly elevate the men's team.