Blevins ready for challenge as he joins new track program at UVA Wise


John Henson

Harlan County High School senior Connor Blevins recently signed with the University of Virginia-Wise to join the school’s track program. Those pictured with Blevins at the signing include, from left, front row: Diane Frazier, Morgan Grace, Scotty Howard, Chandra Howard, Hunter Blevins and Tim Frazier; back row: Harlan County High School athletic director Eugene Farmer, HCHS Principal Kathy Napier and HCHS track coach Ryan Vitatoe.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

As the 46th track and field athlete in Harlan County High School history to sign a college scholarship, Connor Blevins is already in good company as he signed Friday to attend the University of Virginia Wise (UVA Wise). He leaves HCHS as one of the best throwers in the 15-year history of the program.
“He’s one of the best to ever throw, not just at HC, but overall in the history of our county. They are getting a gem, for sure,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said. “I’m so proud of Connor. He is such an incredible young man who gives his best in everything he does. The only person he’s behind at this point is his brother (Hunter, a 2021 HCHS graduate). They were a great 1-2 punch. But what he did in terms of ability is surpassed tenfold in his leadership and work ethic. He was always on time and always serious. Those are things you need to successful. I have no doubt he will make the transition to the college level and will likely contribute right out of the gate.”
Blevins was impressed with UVA Wise when he visited recently, which helped him make his decision.
“I loved the campus when I visited, plus the coaches and the other kids. I felt like I was at home,” Blevins said. “Even though it’s not in Kentucky, it’s right across the border and I liked everything about it. It seemed like everyone got along for well. Even though I love athletics, it’s all about getting a degree and feeling comfortable with friends and study groups.”
Blevins enters this year’s AA regional meet next week as one of the favorites in both the shot put and discus after winning both the Southeastern Kentucky Conference and Area 9 titles in the shot earlier this season while finishing second in the discus in Area 9 and fourth in the SEKC. He qualified for the state meet last year, placing third in the region in the shot put before placing fifth in the 2A state meet. He qualified for the state meet in the discus as a sophomore after finishing fourth in the region.
Blevins will graduate Sunday with a 3.83 grade point average and will take 33 credits to UVA-Wise, making him a sophomore when he starts classes there in the fall.
UVA Wise is a Division II school in the South Athletic Conference in its first season with a track program.
We are excited Connor is going to be a part of our program,” said UVA Wise coach Andrew Howard. “He brings an excellent work ethic to go along with his athletic talent. He’s is the type of person who will be a natural leader and someone we will lean on to help build this new program.”