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Matthew Honeycutt graduated from North Oconee high School as one of the top cross country runners. In fact, he helped establish the program as one of the best in the state. 

Matthew Honeycutt had a memorable journey through high school.

He performed as one of North Oconee High School’s top cross-country runners and helped establish the program as one of the best in the state. With such a strong resume, Honeycutt earned himself a thrilling opportunity to ensure his future, too.

Honeycutt signed a scholarship to join the Young Harris program. He celebrated the accomplishment back in April during a signing ceremony held inside North Oconee’s field house.

With a large collection of family members, friends and teammates alongside him, Honeycutt got to celebrate the milestone in style. 

“It's exciting,” Honeycutt said. “Looking back on everything it's taken to get here and all of the people that have gotten me here, I feel accomplished to have been able to make it this far and to have the opportunity to keep doing what I enjoy doing.”

Honeycutt enjoyed his time as a Titan runner. As he went through the recruiting process during his final year, he did so knowing that he wanted a shot at running beyond high school.

He said that the academic side of a scholarship appealed as much to him as the athletic side.

“I wanted to focus on academics first but I always loved the idea of being able to run in college, to be able to take what I enjoy to do and keep building off of it,” Honeycutt said. “I didn't want this to be my last year because I enjoyed it so much. When I was looking at colleges, it was definitely a major factor. I'm excited to keep doing that.”

Unfortunately for Honeycutt, he suffered a stress reaction injury late in his high school career. He had gone back and forth on the idea of pursuing a college scholarship before then but, once he realized how short his time as a runner could possibly be, he settled on a desire to run in college. 

The injury and recovery process, Honeycutt said, put into perspective how quickly his career could end. Honeycutt said that drives him and makes him want to extend his career as long as possible.

“I was always on the fence throughout high school up until about a year ago,” he said regarding his plans of running in college. “After my injury, I was thinking about how close senior year was and I was like, 'I don't really want this to be it.' I knew I could improve more. Young Harris worked out in a way that it fits my academics and I'll have the opportunity to keep improving.”

As an avid outdoorsman and Eagle Scout, it was a no-brainer for Honeycutt to choose Young Harris, a school known for its relatively secluded location.

Honeycutt said the outside nature of cross-country made him choose that sport for his long-term plan over track.

“I love the location,” Honeycutt said about his future home. “Part of my life being an Eagle Scout and everything, it's been a big deal to be outdoors. Cross-country's always been my favorite over track just because I love being outside. Young Harris, of course, has a beautiful campus, a lot of good trails and a lot of good views, so I'm excited for that.”

Honeycutt intends to study biology while in college. He is undecided about his exact future plans but said that the health care industry interests him.

His time at Young Harris holds a lot of promise and Honeycutt enters the new phase of his life hopeful for big things.

But as he took a moment to reflect on his high school journey, Honeycutt said he’s grateful for all the ups and downs he experienced at North Oconee, and he’s excited about the program’s future.

“I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “Of course, I wish I hadn't gotten injured but taking everything into consideration, I feel like I've done a pretty good job improving and, more than that, being a leader on my team and helping the next people on my team grow and become leaders themselves. I'll definitely keep contact with the coaches and see how everything's going here.”

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