Clovis runners sign with Eastern

Clovis senior Megan Willis, right, seen here running with Clovis sophomore Tori Northcutt in 2004, signed Wednesday to run cross country at Eastern New Mexico University. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer

After a one-year hiatus, Melissa Clark and Megan Willis will be back together running cross country.

Clark, a 2004 Clovis High graduate, and Willis, a CHS senior, signed national letters of intent Wednesday to run cross country at Eastern New Mexico University next season.

“Me and Megan were always in the top three and we would push each other during practice,” said Clark, who improved from the eighth-best runner on the squad as a junior to third as senior year. “She helped me get where I am.”

Both said they really like ENMU coach Joel McMullen. Add the lure of running close to home and the offer was too good to pass up.

“He puts your education before the sport,” said Clark of McMullen, who is entering his second season at ENMU.

“Melissa considered coming to Eastern out of high school, but did not feel the program was for her at that time,” McMullen said in a statement. “However, now she recognizes that we are a legitimate program with definite goals and methods.”

Clark is enrolled in the pre-nursing program at Clovis Community College, but has trained in the offseason.

Clovis High cross country coach Brian Stacy said he believes ENMU is a great situation for the runners.

“It’s a small enough college,” Stacy said. “I think they’ll be accepted and do fine.”

Willis was the top runner for the Lady Wildcats this season, finishing 25th at the state meet in November. She was also recruited by Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., and Wayland Baptist in Plainview, Texas.

The Zias finished ninth out of 11 teams at the Lone Star Conference meet in October and graduated two seniors.