James Wood's Tews signs to compete for Mount St. Mary's track & field team

5c81bb866cec6.imageIt’s definitely been a winter to remember for James Wood track & field athlete Drake Tews.

Less than three weeks after earning all-state honors in the high jump at the Class 4 meet at Roanoke College following some trying circumstances, Tews celebrated his signing with NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary’s University on Wednesday night as part of James Wood’s indoor track awards dinner.

Tews will not receive any athletic scholarship money, but in a phone interview on Thursday he said he will receive financial aid based on his academic performance.

The Colonel senior said he will focus on jumping at Mount St. Mary’s. His best high jump is 6 feet, 4 inches, which he achieved over the summer in AAU competition.

Tews will join former Colonel Rene Rosso at Mount St. Mary’s next year. Rosso — a freshman took fourth in the high jump to help the Mountaineers win their first Northeast Conference women’s indoor track title in 22 years last month — was the one who got the ball rolling on Tews’ recruitment to the Emmitsburg, Md., institution.

“Rene talked to [Mountaineers] jumps coach [Josh Poole] about me. He wanted me to visit, and I really enjoyed the place,” said Tews, who went to Emmitsburg on the first weekend of December. “I kind of wanted to go to a smaller school academic-wise with a smaller teacher-to-student ratio. And it’s a really beautiful school with great facilities and great dorm rooms.

“I like it a lot. And once I got my financial aid package, it was a lot cheaper than some of my other options, and I realized that’s where I wanted to go.”

Mount St. Mary’s has a student enrollment of approximately 1,800 students. Tews — who will study biology so he can be a dentist — said he was also considering Lynchburg University and Roanoke College.

Roanoke was the site of Tews’ first all-state honor on Feb. 23. Tews tied for fourth in the high jump that day with a mark of 6-0, this despite missing a month of practice leading up to the meet because of mononucleosis.

“I was not expecting that at all,” Tews said. “That meant a lot.”

Tews credits James Wood jumps coach Caroline Sandy and his summer coach in Loudoun County, Bruce Bornarth, for helping him improve in the past couple of years.

“Last year, when I first started coaching, he was hit or miss if he could clear 5-8, 5-10, on a consistent basis,” said Sandy of Tews, who also runs sprints for James Wood. “He’s much more consistent and able to jump at higher heights now.

“He’s got a lot of potential in any event that he does. He’s got the mind-set you need to succeed.”

With Rosso already at Mount St. Mary’s, Tews should get a pretty good idea of what it will take to excel for the Mountaineers before he arrives. Mount St. Mary’s men’s team only took sixth at the indoor conference meet this year, but the Mountaineers are the defending Northeast Conference outdoor champions.

“We’re really close friends,” Tews said. “She makes me better and has pushed me to work hard. It means a lot that she helped me get onto the Mount St. Mary’s team.”

— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at
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