• August 11, 2020

SCHOLAR ATHLETE SPONSORED BY ODESSA COLLEGE: Gray continues to plan ahead - Odessa American: Sports

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SCHOLAR ATHLETE SPONSORED BY ODESSA COLLEGE: Gray continues to plan ahead

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Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020 5:19 pm

Wink senior Nick Gray has always been about planning for what lies ahead.

He attributes that as one of the big keys that helped him become the valedictorian of his graduating class and credits his mother and father for helping him stay on the right path.

“I was just trying to stay focused on being number one in everything that I did,” Gray said. “My mom was really big on me doing well in school and my dad encouraged me to do well in sports. They wanted to make sure that I was focusing on being successful in both areas.”

Gray put a lot of focus towards the sciences.

He said that biology was his favorite class and combining that with helping out his family’s ranch, has prompted Gray to continue his schooling at Texas A&M in the fall to study veterinary sciences.

“I just like doing a lot of the hands-on stuff,” Gray said. “I’ve grown up on a ranch so I’ve developed a passion for helping animals and just being around them.”

Gray got to visit the Texas A&M campus thanks to the football team’s success during the offseason.

Wink qualified for the 2019 7-on-7 state tournament in College Station, allowing Gray and his teammates to visit the home of the Aggies during the down time. Being there reminded Gray of the steps he had taken to get there.

“I live in Kermit so I would have to get out to school quite a bit earlier and drive,” he said. “At school, I just focused on getting as much work down as I could during class. If there was another class where I wasn’t doing much, I was working on work for another class.”

Add that and practices for football and golf on top of college classes on the weekend, it ended up being quite the hectic schedule.

Being able to balance everything was what stood out in head football coach Brian Gibson’s mind.

“I think he had his goals set pretty early on in his life,” Gibson said. “I know when he came to Wink; he was already set on where he wanted to go.

“He had that direction in his life which is rare for a high school kid.”

Gibson added that having a set goal was one of the big keys in the Wildcats’ run to the Class 2A regional finals this past season.

“Nick was a calm, collected young man and he never lost his composure,” he said. “He has all those intangibles that are hard to replace on a yearly basis.”

Gray has another source of motivation to draw back from: his older brother, Pat. Nick said that he would help his father out when he was working as a pumper as he balanced his own work at school. Pat went on to graduate from Texas Tech and get his law degree.

“He didn’t let anything prevent him from being successful in his education,” Nick said of his older brother.

The toughest part of these last few weeks of no school for Gray is not being to be with his friends as they look back on what they accomplished.

He was also hoping to qualify for the regional golf tournament for the fourth straight year. That chance was denied after the season was canceled.

Simply put, “It was no doubt a heartbreaker.”

That said, Gray is looking forward to the next chapter of his life and Gibson had high praise for what he can accomplish.

“I can’t say enough nice things about Nicholas Gray,” Gibson said. “I think he’s going to be one of the true leaders of this nation moving forward.”

Odessa, TX

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