Tres Rowland knew he had to circle the track at Alma Intermediate School one last time. He just didn’t know it would be that hard.

The former Alma hurdler, who capped a brilliant career by competing in the Meet Of Champs, said he’ll miss everything about track, especially the workouts.

"Track meant the world to me; that’s what I excelled in and that’s what my life revolved around," Rowland said. "Work revolved around practice and school revolved around practice. It seemed like in school just for track meets."

Rowland received a $4,000 academic scholarship as part of the Tyler Whitley Scholarship foundation last week. He will be attending Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, where he plans to become an aircraft mechanic. Southern Fastening Systems of Camden offers three Whitley Scholarships.

"I actually came down to the track the other day," Rowland said. "I had to walk the track one last time because I missed it. I had some feelings come up, but I felt like I had to cross the finish line one last time."

Becoming a mechanic is also important, Rowland said.

"It’s a passion," he said. "I love mechanics and it’s something I excel at."

Rowland said one of the hardest things about moving on is leaving his former coach, Tom McMurray, behind. McMurray recently retired after a long and successful career as Alma’s track coach.

"These coaches, they’re everything — they’re my idol and guys I look up to," Rowland said. "I gave a speech to coach Mac. This was his last year and it kind of got me choked up a little bit. It seem like I got him choked up, too."

"Kids that want to come out and work hard — that’s one of the things I can remember about Tres," McMurray said. "I remember when he was a ninth grader and he would work on the hurdles. I can’t remember how many times we would have to load up the cold baths and tubs of ice water just to get him through. He’s just one of those kids who has worked extremely hard at what he’s done."