From left: Vernon Curvey (AHS assistant coach), Nikki Palen (mom), Tony Dobbins, Jeff White (AHS track coach)ALTON – Another Redbird is leaving the nest and heading off to college.

This one is track and field sprinter Tony Dobbins, who will be running next year for the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., a NAIA school that is a member of the Mid-South Conference, which includes schools like Campbellsville (Ky.) University, Life University (Marietta, Ga.) and the University of Pikeville (Pikeville, Ky.).

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“When I visited, I liked the environment and the program that I'm going to do was a perfect fit for me,” Dobbins said. “I'm hoping to major in mechanical engineering to become an automotive engineer.”

“I'm thrilled as a coach that he's going to continue his running career,' said Redbird coach Jeff White. “He's been great since I came here last season; I realized real quickly he was one of our best sprinters and he should be running in college – he's real talented.

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“He takes care of his schoolwork; he's really responsible – he's a student-athlete, he meets both that criteria very well and he's been great for our team; he's been a leader. He comes to practice and does what he needs to do in meets for us. We're definitely going to miss him – he had a lot of speed and we're going to miss that.”

While Dobbins will be missed by the Redbird program, White is happy he will be able to continue on at the collegiate level in the sport. “I think they're getting a really good sprinter,” White said. “He had a couple of injuries this year, unfortunately for him; we got him back by the end of the year. He'll get to rebound next year and get to come back even stronger and that's great.

“It's unfortunate that things like that (injuries) happen, but he will definitely be an asset to that team. They're getting a really good athlete and a good guy.”

When asked what brought him to track and field and what he hopes to accomplish as a Patriot, Dobbins said “I liked it, so I stayed with it. I'm hoping to help the team out as much as I can and get the education that I want.”

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