Following a family tradition is serious business for Rock Hill senior Bo Hutchison.
There was no doubt he was going to attend The Citadel this fall. On Tuesday, Hutchison made it official when he signed with The Citadel where he will continue his running career as a member of the Bulldogs' cross country team.
"I was going to The Citadel, regardless," Hutchison said. "All the men in my family have gone to college there. It's kind of a tradition."
That tradition dates back at least 100 years for the Hutchisons.
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Every cadet is issued a rifle at The Citadel, and there are several in the Hutchison family. But one rifle, belonging to Bo's grandfather, is a treasure. This one originally had the name of a Hutchison, and his year of graduation, etched into the weapon. Through the years, many more names of Hutchison men that graduated from The Citadel have been added.
Bo can't wait to add his name.
"The first name on it is from 1915," he said. "I will graduate in 2015."
The Hutchisons are one of many families known at The Citadel as "legacies". They are the ones who know they will attend the school from the moment a doctor handed them over to their parents and said, 'Congratulations, you have a boy.'
Hutchison's college was predestined. Cross country was something Hutchison chose to do.
Rock Hill cross country coach Chris Chandler saw some raw talent in the lanky ninth-grader when Hutchison showed up for his first practice. It took a year before athlete and coach began to see eye to eye and work together to make a college-bound runner.
"There was no doubt he was talented, but he didn't put the effort in at first," Chandler said. "Once he started seeing results, he got into it."
Hutchison called his freshman season a trial run.
"I didn't really start getting serious about training until the summer before my sophomore year. I grew up some, I guess. Chandler motivated me in ways I didn't realize at the time," Hutchison said.
He ran his best time of 16:31.25 in the Class AAAA middle state race at the Sandhills course in Columbia this year. Rock Hill finished third in the team standings in that race and qualified for the state meet the following week.
Hutchison didn't run as well as he wanted at state, but Rock Hill still finished in eighth place; a great showing for the boys team.
"Bo was really like a silent leader on the team," Chandler said. "I don't think he realized the influence he had on the team.
"He was one of key elements to our success. Bo's the best male runner we've had. I'd compare him to (former Rock Hill distance runner and current Furman athlete) Hannah Robinson, who was a state champion. They have the same work ethic. I think having her out there was good for him."
Hutchison is running on Rock Hill's track team. He runs the mile, 400 meters, 800 meters and is part of the 4 x 400 relay team.
"I guess the thing I'm most proud of is my progression; where I started, and where I am now," Hutchison said.
"I got my times down by getting serious."