Student athlete is making the most of his experience

Sam Lusty works on hurdle drills in practice

Sam Lusty is like most students at Western Carolina University. He works hard in his classes and he hangs out with his fraternity brothers in Sigma Alpha Epsilon. With an economy that makes it hard for many high school graduates to attend college, Lusty is one of the lucky ones; letting his passion for running pay for his education.

After performing as a standout athlete at Hayesville High School, Lusty signed with Western Carolina University in 2010 as a hurdler and multi event performer.  Along with the hurdles, he competes in the long jump, the triple jump and pole vault. He still holds the pole vault record at Hayesville High School.

Lusty was offered a partial scholarship for track at WCU and admits that without it, he would have to work while attending school to meet his financial needs. The scholarship has given him freedom to pursue other interests and activities on campus.

WCU’s reputation as a top notch school and track program is what drew Lusty to the university.

“I knew that I wanted to attend Western. I knew about Coach Williamson’s reputation and that Western had a strong running program,” said Lusty.

Danny Williamson, WCU’s track coach, has been coaching for 28 years and knows good talent and good character when he sees it.

“I saw Sam compete in high school and I saw that he was a good competitor and a good kid. That is what caught my eye,” said Williamson. As a coach, Williamson feels that it is important to keep the local talent of Western North Carolina in the region.

Lusty is majoring in psychology with a minor in Spanish. He hopes to join the military or the Peace Corps after graduation and use his education to help others. He would eventually like to pursue a career in human resources.

The Catamounts are a force to be reckoned with on the track and recently the women’s team won the Southern Conference Championship for the seventh time. The men’s team placed third but is still sitting in first place for the season. Lusty placed sixth in the triple jump during the SoCon championship.

The catamounts have recently returned from the Georgia Relays at the University of Georgia where Lusty placed second in the 110 meter hurdles and third in the 400 meter hurdles.

The catamounts will be hosting the Beynon Sports Catamount Classic on March 22 and 23.

Lusty during a practice run for the hurdles at WCU.