Bravo is bound for Wallace State

Albertville’s Victor Bravo was the first signee for the revival of Wallace State-Hanceville’s cross country program. He celebrated the milestone during a May 11 ceremony in the AHS library. Supporting him are his parents, Justina Velasquez and Isabel Bravo; and back row, from left, Jimmy Patterson, former AHS track coach; Torrey Croft, former AHS cross country coach; Samantha Searels, AHS assistant cross country coach; and Mark Aderhold, Wallace State cross country recruiter.

Victor Bravo’s final day of classes as an Albertville High School student was a special one, as the Aggie track and cross country programs sponsored a reception in the school library to celebrate his scholarship to Wallace State-Hanceville.

Bravo will be the first member of his family to attend college. He was also the first signee for the revival of Wallace State’s cross country program.

“He is the first one who has signed on the dotted line,” said Mark Aderhold, one of the college’s cross country recruiters. “We’re excited about having Victor. Everything I’ve heard about him is he’s as good a person as he is a runner.

“Victor is a great man and a quality student, the kind of student we’d like to have at Wallace. Good student, good runner, good person — that’s what we’re looking for.”

The Lions haven’t fielded cross country teams since the fall of 2007, when their men’s squad won the Alabama Community College Conference title.

Wallace State also hired Saint Bernard cross country coach William Calvert to recruit for its program.

Aderhold said he and Calvert looked at the results from the AHSAA state cross country championships in 2016 to find seniors who hadn’t committed or signed with other programs.

“We started investigating and finding out who were good kids,” Aderhold said.

Bravo finished 11th in the Class 6A state meet as a senior with a time of 17:04.32. He placed 20th in the state meet as a junior.

Bravo was the runner-up in the Marshall County Meet in 2016. He finished third in the 6A, Section 5 event.

Aderhold watched Bravo compete in the section track meet in April. He met with the Aggie standout and offered him a scholarship.

“We got a little late start in the recruiting process, which is OK,” Aderhold said. “We’ve been surprised at the quality of runners and the quality of young men we’ve gotten this late in the game.”

Bravo’s best cross country time is 16:42. High school boys run 5Ks while college men run 8Ks, which are about five miles.

Bravo said former AHS cross country coach Torrey Croft’s 10-mile practice runs helped prepare him to compete for Wallace.

“It’s an honor to be running track for this school and to be taught by good coaches,” Bravo said of AHS. “I’m just really grateful for what they’ve done for me. I’m looking forward to competing at the next level.”

Bravo ended his Aggie career by breaking the school’s 800-meter record during the 6A state meet in May. He ran a 2:03.02 to eclipse the mark established by his friend Salim Chacon in 2016.

“I’ve wanted to break it since my freshman year when my friend told me about the 800,” Bravo said. “I was running like 2:20s, and we were both going for the school record in the 800 meters.”

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