Golden Tiger signs cross-country scholarship

Russellville High School graduate Naydelin Huerta Momentay will continue her crosscountry career at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas in the fall, signing her scholarship to the school July 14 surrounded by family.

“My family has always supported me and encouraged me,” Huerta Momentay said. “Whenever things would get hard, my grandmother from Mexico was always telling me to keep going and how I could do it. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Huerta Momentay said she decided to attend the University of Saint Mary because of the academic and spiritual guidance the school could offer – and the athletic scholarship was icing on the cake.

“One thing my family taught me is to have a love for God and to serve him, so Saint Mary’s was a good fit for me because they are a private school that is focused around church,” she said. “This way I am able to have my school, but I am also able to have a church there as well.”

Huerta Momentay said when she first began cross country in seventh grade, she initially was not sure the sport was for her.

“It’s a really hard sport that not everyone can do,” she said.

She said at first she was tough on herself and did not see the results she wanted, but seeing minor improvements over time encouraged her to continue running.

“I started to notice my times were slowly improving and I was getting better,” she said. “That was huge for me because that was what made me want to keep going with the sport.”

Former Russellville crosscountry coach Kevin England said Huerta Momentay was one of his first runners for the Golden Tigers, and he immediately saw potential in her.

“She just always had that drive, and you could see that she was a big competitor,” England said. “You could tell by watching her run that she had all of the stuff to make it far.”

England said it is great to see Huerta Momentay accomplish her goal after years of hard work and persistence.

“Getting to see her progression over time and see her fall in love with the sport has been great to see,” England said. “I know she is going to do great things.”